As we round out the bottom-half of our Top 10 Prospect Rankings, all eyes now turn to the goal crease. Not only is Cal Petersen yet another free agent signing who has cracked this coveted list of potential future Kings, he’s also the only netminder to be featured among this year’s pack.
If you’re unfamiliar with our rankings overall, for nearly a decade this content has become a vital source of player information, as nobody outside the Kings organization talks to more coaches, scouts, and General Managers about LA’s top prospects on a regular basis than the team at MayorsManor. Endless hours go into evaluating players in the Kings pipeline and preparing our write-ups. Additionally, the final slotting of players is influenced by hundreds of hours of game action and debating the team’s prospects with a myriad of well-respected hockey people, including our key sources inside the team’s front office.
For those playing catching up, this article is the latest in a multi-part series. For your reference, below are links back to other detailed scouting reports we’ve recently published:
Honorable Mentions – including Justin Auger, Jaret Anderson-Dolan, Mikey Eyssimont, Cole Hults, Alex Lintuniemi, Kurtis MacDermid, and Michael Mersch
10. Mikey Anderson
9. Matt Luff
And let’s continue the countdown…
MAYOR’S MANOR 2018 MID-SEASON PROSPECT RANKINGS
6. Cal Petersen: Goaltender, Ontario Reign (free agent signing, Notre Dame)
Truth be told, this player probably deserves to be in the Top 5. Come October, he absolutely will be. Standing 6-foot-1, this 23-year-old netminder is a rare breed among free agent assets secured by an NHL team. Sure, some players never get drafted, then simply develop late. At that point, a few teams have interest in them, while most clubs have moved on to the next batch of newbies. Here, we’re talking about a totally different situation. Petersen was selected by Buffalo in the fifth round at the 2013 NHL Draft. He never signed with the Sabres, though. Making him the most sought after college goaltender last spring. And the Kings signed him to a two-year Entry Level Contract.
Before we go too deep here, let’s rattle off a few of his accolades from college. He was the first Notre Dame goaltender to ever be named team captain. As a freshman he set an NCAA Division I record when he stopped 87 shots in a playoff game that went to a fifth overtime. The Iowa native was also named to the Hockey East First All-Star team for the 2016-17 season and All-Rookie Team in 2014-15. He posted a .926 save percentage last season, when his six shutouts tied for first in the country and his 2,375 minutes played ranked first outright. Last spring, he guided his team to the Frozen Four on the strength of a .935 save percentage.
— AHL (@TheAHL) January 29, 2018
But enough about last year, what about this year and beyond? Scouts who have watched him from his days in the USHL, through college, and into this year say that he’s shown steady improvement in regards to strength, which in-turn helps his athleticism. He is very sound technically, with off-the-charts mental strength – a few of the key ingredients needed for high-end goaltenders. Additionally, Petersen remains driven to improve and succeed. It’s very easy to say he projects as an NHL goaltender, and will be a potential starter down the road with added experience.
He’s turned into a development darling for the LA Kings; a first-year pro and was already named to the AHL All Star Team. Through 24 games this season, Petersen has posted a .911 save percentage over a 13-9 record with the Reign.
Stothers w/ plenty of praise for @CalPetersen40 -"Like what I've seen. Composed. He's a quiet moving goalie. Laid back; not much phases him"
— The Mayor John Hoven (@mayorNHL) September 30, 2017
More Stothers on @CalPetersen40 – "Not a lot of extra movement… Real good with his legs; covers a lot of net. He's been solid"
— The Mayor John Hoven (@mayorNHL) September 30, 2017
His confidence is high, with zero arrogance. One Kings executive noted that Petersen has a different demeanor about him, which suits the position well. Like Drew Doughty on defense, Petersen recovers quickly from mistakes. Case in point, he gave up a goal early in his September Rookie Camp at TSC, then was lights out the rest of the night. He also gave up a goal early in his AHL debut. These type of things don’t seem to faze him. Outsiders might be surprised by how easy his transition from college to the AHL has been, but from inside the Kings circles, they say this is exactly what they expected. They’re beyond thrilled to have added a college free agent of his caliber to their pipeline; especially considering a lack of organizational depth at the position over the past few years.
Splitting duties with Jack Campbell this season is exactly what the Kings wanted from Petersen. Following a similar path to what they used to develop guys like JF Berube, Jonathan Bernier, and Martin Jones, look for Petersen to be the starter in Ontario next season; followed by a promotion to the NHL the year after. [NOTE: Given how well Darcy Keumper has played this season, don’t expect him back in Los Angeles next year, which begs the question of who will backup Jonathan Quick in 2018-19? Campbell, most likely.]. Bottom line here, Petersen has done everything needed to take the Reign starting job in October.
That’s a wrap on the bottom-half of the Top 10. Next up, we’ll break into the Top 5 with a detailed look at a forward who has seen his stock only rise from where he sat on our list one year ago.
Like always, many thanks to the numerous hockey sources who contribute to this series – especially Andy Tonge, our longtime correspondent, and Cody Warner, who has been covering the Ontario Reign for us since the AHL arrived in California. Their ongoing input regarding prospects continues to be invaluable throughout this process. Do yourself a favor and give them both a follow on Twitter right now.
If you missed any of the previous articles in this series, click here to catch up.
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