Erik Portillo was acquired by the Los Angeles Kings from the Buffalo Sabres on March 1, 2023. Portillo, a 6-foot-6, 198-pound goaltender was deep in a logjam of goalies in the Buffalo Sabres pipeline. The University of Michigan netminder was unlikely to see any NHL ice time in the near future sitting behind Ukko Pekka-Luukonen and Devon Levi.
Likely for that reason, among others, he was unlikely to sign an entry-level contract with Buffalo. And fearful of losing him for nothing in free agency, Buffalo General Manager Kevyn Adams used him as a trade chip, sending him to the Los Angeles Kings for a compensatory third-round draft pick.
The Los Angeles Kings were a great trade partner for a team looking to trade away a high-quality goaltending prospect because right now the only NHL-caliber goaltender set to be on the roster next season is Pheonix Copley. And considering Joonas Korpisalo is getting all of the post-season starts so far, it is extremely important that the Kings either figure out a way to re-sign him or get another goalie under contract.
For the time being, the latter is what has happened officially. After signing Portillo to an Amateur Try-Out, he has now inked a two-year entry-level contract, worth $1.75 million dollars. It is highly unlikely that he will appear in a playoff game this season unless the worst-case scenario happens and both Copley and Korpisalo go down.
But, the good news is that he is under contract with the NHL team now, and he is excited to begin his career in Los Angeles.
"“…But I think the opportunity in LA is gonna be great. I’m really excited to hopefully start my pro career there and get going. It’s obviously a good opportunity and hopefully I get something started there.”"
With the Ontario Reign’s season officially over, Erik Portillo could very easily move up the goalie depth chart next season because Matthew Villalta does not currently have a contract for next season and the only other goalie under contract is Cal Petersen. Petersen has been struggling tremendously, so it might make more sense for Reign Head Coach Marco Sturm to turn to the former Wolverine netminder that led his team to back-to-back Frozen Four appearances.
But, that remains to be seen. It is exciting though that Rob Blake has a third goalie under contract through next season now and at a very low price.
Want your voice heard? Join the Rink Royalty team!