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2018-19 Season in Review: Is it time for the goalies of the future yet?

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Cal Petersen and Jack Campbell both showed that they can cope with the NHL. Is it time for them to shine?

NHL: Los Angeles Kings at Vegas Golden Knights Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

With the 2018-19 NHL season firmly in the rear view mirror, it’s time to look back at what we learned about the players of the Los Angeles Kings. How did they fare in a down season? What’s next for each of them? Who will still be here on opening day? Join us as we take a look back at the season, try to figure out what went wrong, and see where we go from here. Today we look at the two players who aspire to replace Jonathan Quick in net.


On Monday, Michael kicked off our Season in Review series with a look at Jonathan Quick and an investigation into his play. Today, we continue by looking at the two men who shared the net when Quick was injured, and who both hope to be NHL starters sooner rather than later.

But first, some numbers.

Player GP TOI Shots Against Saves Goals Against SV% GAA GSAA xG Against HD Shots Against HD Saves HD Goals Against HDSV% HDGAA HDGSAA MD Shots Against MD Saves MD Goals Against MDSV% MDGAA MDGSAA LD Shots Against LD Saves LD Goals Against LDSV% LDGAA LDGSAA Rush Attempts Against Rebound Attempts Against Avg. Shot Distance Avg. Goal Distance
Player GP TOI Shots Against Saves Goals Against SV% GAA GSAA xG Against HD Shots Against HD Saves HD Goals Against HDSV% HDGAA HDGSAA MD Shots Against MD Saves MD Goals Against MDSV% MDGAA MDGSAA LD Shots Against LD Saves LD Goals Against LDSV% LDGAA LDGSAA Rush Attempts Against Rebound Attempts Against Avg. Shot Distance Avg. Goal Distance
Jonathan Quick 46 2647.57 1329 1180 149 0.888 3.38 -22.95 113.32 350 274 76 0.783 1.72 -5.67 352 305 47 0.866 1.07 -8.48 550 525 25 0.955 0.57 -5 50 178 37 24.65
Cal Petersen 11 621.70 355 328 27 0.924 2.61 6.67 26.57 90 74 16 0.822 1.54 2.08 79 72 7 0.911 0.68 1.65 158 154 4 0.975 0.39 1.75 14 34 40.63 22.3
Jack Campbell 31 1592.77 845 784 61 0.928 2.3 19.15 68.8 189 155 34 0.82 1.28 3.98 231 213 18 0.922 0.68 7.28 380 371 9 0.976 0.34 4.82 45 93 37.92 19.98
via Natural Stat Trick

Jack Campbell

While everyone expected Jack Campbell to be in the NHL during the 2018-19 season, perhaps no one expected him to play in 31 games, spend some time as the team’s starter, and deal with his own meniscus injury. Campbell missed most of November and all of December recovering from surgery for a torn meniscus, the same injury that sidelined Jonathan Quick this past season.

Campbell’s road to the NHL has been long and winding, from a top prospect to someone barely even getting starts in the ECHL before being acquired by the Kings. Thanks to the work of Dusty Imoo, the now-former goaltending development coach, Campbell was able to resurrect his career, first with the Ontario Reign and now with the Kings.

Playing behind a bad team that couldn’t score goals when it counted, Campbell put up not only career-best numbers, but numbers that put him up among some of the NHL’s best. When you look at goalies who played at least 1000 minutes in net (Campbell logged nearly 1600 minutes), his save percentage of .928 puts him third in the league, behind Vezina candidate Robin Lenher and ahead of Stanley Cup finalist Jordan Binnington.

Campbell had a 2.30 goals against average, dropping him to fifth in our 1000+ minutes club. Again, not too shabby, considering he was playing behind a team that struggled in all three zones and often failed to keep shots from landing on net. He recorded two shutouts, both of which required him to make more than 40 saves.

While any goalie has bad goals and bad games in their resume, it would be difficult to look at any of Campbell’s losses and say that they reflect more on him and his potential as a starter than they do on the team in front of him. When Campbell was at his best — again, behind a team that did him no favors — you had to wonder: what would he look like, how good would he be, in front of a team that was even borderline competent?

Cal Petersen

The plan for 2018-19 was always to have Cal Petersen taking on starting duties in Ontario. The injuries to Jonathan Quick and Jack Campbell changed those plans fairly quickly and Petersen ended up starting 10 games for the Kings as everyone had to be shuffled on up the depth chart.

Petersen impressed from the start, first coming out in relief of Peter Budaj during a home game against Toronto that was already out of hand. Petersen entered the game midway through the second period, allowed one goal against (while the Kings were on the penalty kill) and stopped the rest of the shots that he faced.

He followed that up with a win in his next game, a 2-1 win on the road over the Chicago Blackhawks, where he stopped both Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane in the shootout. Overall, Petersen recorded five wins, including one shutout, during his time in net for the Kings.

When we expand our list of possible comparison goalies to include Petersen, who logged 621:42 in net for the Kings, his stats come out looking nearly as good as Campbells. Of goalies who played more than 600 minutes, Petersen’s save percentage of .924 has him placed ninth in the league, similar to Darcy Kuemper and Anton Khudobin. He struggled a bit more with goals against average, ending the season with 2.61, placing him 19th — tied with Mackenzie Blackwood, thought of as the future in net of the New Jersey Devils, and David Rittich, who took on the bulk of the work for the Calgary Flames this year.

Petersen’s numbers in the AHL are far from glamorous, but much like not being able to really evaluate a goalie’s performance on the Kings due to the poor performance of the skaters, the same holds true for the Ontario Reign, as well. Petersen’s 4.02 goals against average with Ontario has him sitting dead last among qualified goalies (goalies who have recorded at least 1440 minutes in net). His save percentage, 0.896, places him 37th in the league (out of 47).

Looks bad, right? Especially for a player who earned AHL honors the season before, right?

Well, yes, but: the Ontario Reign were not very good, particularly defensively, and even more so once the Reign started losing defensemen went down to injury (Daniel Brickley, Kale Clague) or call-up (Matt Roy, Sean Walker, Kurtis MacDermid).

Petersen faced 1359 shots, fourth-most in the league. The players ahead of him in that stat all played between nine and 11 more games than Petersen did. On average, Petersen faced 35.7 shots a game. Colorado’s Pavel Francouz, who led in shots faced, actually faced an average of 31.2 shots per game. In fact, when you look at all qualified goalies in the AHL, Petersen faced the most shots per game; his next closest competition was Alex Lyon of the Lehigh Valley Phantoms (32.5/game) and Anton Forsberg of the Rockford IceHogs (32.5/game).

Petersen’s resilience at the AHL level is a testament to the mental side of his game. Watching him in some of the Reign’s blowout losses, he never seemed to get flustered by goals against. Getting scored on didn’t ever seem to knock him off his game. He did the best he could with what he had, and unfortunately for the Reign, they very often didn’t have a whole lot to work with.

Petersen is currently a restricted free agent and needs a new contract, but given his overall lack of true, lengthy NHL experience, he should be relatively inexpensive to re-sign. He still does not need to pass through waivers, so the Kings can move him between the NHL and AHL as needed without worrying about losing him to another team.

What’s next?

I’m not here to argue for or against the Kings trading Jonathan Quick. That’s a whole different post for a whole other time. The reality is that even if you’d want to part with him now, it would be a difficult move to pull off. Quick’s contract is long, for a lot of dollars, and he’s notoriously injury-prone. If the Kings did move him, it would probably involve taking back bad contract(s) and retaining salary — not something a team looking to “retool” necessarily wants to do if they’re still trying to take advantage of a few more good years from their core players.

Quick is signed until the 2022-23 season, and if the team can’t (or won’t) move him, then your best case scenario looks a little something like this:

Quick and Campbell continue as your number one/two in the NHL for the 2019-20 season. Petersen gets full-time starter duty with the Ontario Reign, most likely with a free agent veteran playing behind him.

Campbell, who is a free agent at the end of the 2019-20 season, would either be someone the Kings trade away at the deadline, or who they let walk during free agency, so that he can finally pursue the ability to be a starter somewhere. That would clear a path for Cal Petersen to join the NHL full-time, back up (or eventually settle into a 1A/1B role with) Jonathan Quick, and allow the Kings more time to evaluate him as a future starter.

(Or they could go and draft Spencer Knight next week and throw all of this into chaos.)

Regardless of what happens with Quick, both Campbell and Petersen showed that they can handle playing in the NHL. If Quick goes down to injury again, the Kings should have confidence that they have two goaltenders who can hold down the fort in the NHL without him. And if they move Quick, then Campbell gets his shot as a starter, Petersen gets the call-up, and all of us have to worry to make sure Quick doesn’t accidentally somehow end up starting for the Flames.

(Statistics come from Natural Stat Trick, NHL.com, and theAHL.com)