The Goose is loose! Per LA Kings head coach Todd McLellan, Troy Grosenick will get the nod for the final game of the season against the Avs.
While Todd McLellan’s postgame media availability was short, and understandably so, given how the LA Kings performed in the second to last game of the season, he did make one thing quite clear. Cal Petersen will not play in the back-to-back. Instead, Troy Grosenick will get the start between the pipes.
Grosenick, 31, was signed primarily for AHL depth with the NHL’s taxi squad rules requiring teams to carry three goalies. It’s been an interesting year for the career journeyman, who made just four starts during the regular season for the Ontario Reign, allowing a 4.18 GAA and a .856 SV%.
He made his one and only NHL start back on March 10 against the Ducks, stopping 33-of-34 shots he faced and earned his first win in 6.5 years.
The Brookfield, Wisconsin native, is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. It will be interesting to see if the LA Kings have an interest in bringing him back for AHL depth next season, with the taxi squad presumably going away.
However, with the presumed started in Matt Villalta along with others like Lukas Parik, Jacob Ingham, and eventually David Hrenak on their way, there may not be room for Grosenick on the AHL roster.
Still, he’ll have his hands full against an Avalanche team looking to win the West Division on Thursday. Cal Petersen was under siege all night on Wednesday, allowing six goals on 37 shot attempts. I know some on Twitter were questioning why Cal was still in the game after he allowed his third and fourth goal, but perhaps McLellan knew Grosenick would start on Thursday regardless.
Petersen has not played great down the home stretch of this season. Between April and May, the 26-year-old Notre Dame product owns a .894 SV% and a 3.13 GAA in 16 games. Believed to be the primary starter in the 2021-2022 season, he’s not leaving a lot of confidence in the fanbase heading into the offseason.
A number of factors are at play here, though. The defense has not been great in front of him, granted there is plenty of youth and learning moments along the blue line. Still, it makes you wonder if the Kings take the best player available in the first round of the 2021 NHL Draft and if that player is Swedish goaltender Jesper Wallstedt.