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Flyers’ Cal Petersen Can Save NHL Career With New Opportunity

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Cal Petersen has not played for the Philadelphia Flyers since Nov. 11, in a winning effort against his old Los Angeles Kings. (Photo: AP)

The Philadelphia Flyers are going to be without goaltender Carter Hart for an indeterminate period of time. General manager Danny Briere could not provide any further insight into that situation but did make clear his and the team’s confidence in rookie sensation Sam Ersson.

One player with the most to gain from this is Los Angeles Kings goaltender Cal Petersen, who was called up via emergency loan on Jan. 23.

The 29-year-old was a solid rotational goalie early in his career with the Kings and earned a three-year, $15 million deal with LA in September 2021. As the heir apparent to Kings legend Jonathan Quick, Petersen faltered after being pressed into a full-time role, recording a save percentage below .900 in both 2021-22 and 2022-23.

As such, the Kings were desperate to offload the struggling Petersen to free up cap space. Danny Briere and Co. brought the Waterloo, Iowa native aboard the Flyers as part of the three-team trade involving former Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov.

After failing to beat out Ersson for the No. 2 job in preseason, Petersen started his season with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms in the AHL. There, the former King has recorded a record of 5-8-2 with a 3.26 GAA and a .890 save percentage.

Having been without Hart once before already, Petersen has played two games for the Flyers this season; both were, ironically, against the Kings. Petersen allowed five goals on 30 shots in the first game – a 5-0 loss at Wells Fargo Center on Nov. 4.

In his return to Los Angeles exactly one week later, Petersen was the hero, stopping 35 of 37 shots en route to a .946 save percentage and a 4-2 Flyers win.

Looking at Petersen’s performances over the course of the last year, he’s been very boom-or-bust. It’s nice to know that he can steal the Flyers some games, but sometimes, the Flyers will need to steal him some games, too.

John Tortorella’s squad has a defensive structure in place that will allow that to happen, but the execution hasn’t been there lately. Look at the recent losses to the Ottawa Senators and the Colorado Avalanche.

Briere already stressed that he and the team will be careful not to run the young Ersson into the ground so early into his NHL career. That means another goaltender will need to step in for the Flyers and give the team good starts in meaningful games.

Petersen is the first batter on deck, with a massive opportunity to salvage his NHL career in tow.

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