Barring injury to either or both of the Los Angeles Kings’ projected goaltending tandem, North Pole’s Pheonix Copley is likely ticketed to the Ontario Reign, the Kings’ American Hockey League affiliate.
Monday, on a night when one of those projected starters, Cal Petersen, left a preseason game with a lower-body injury after one period, Copley crushed his first appearance with Los Angeles. Initially scheduled to replace Petersen near mid-game, Copley instead settled between the pipes to start the second period and stopped all 23 shots he faced in a 2-1 overtime win against the Vegas Golden Knights.
“It was good, it was a battle,” Copley told Zach Dooley of LA Kings Insider. “I got to get some game-situation stuff in, which gets ramped up during camp, but you don’t really get that kind of game-situation stuff until you’re in a game.
“It was good to get my feet wet, and now on to the next one.”
The Kings have six goaltenders in camp. Veteran Jonathan Quick, who backstopped the club to two Stanley Cups, and Petersen are the projected NHL tandem. Of the other four masked men, Copley owns the best resume.
The 30-year-old owns NHL experience – he’s one of just three Alaskans to play goal in the world’s best hockey league – and has a strong track record in the AHL.
— LA Kings (@LAKings) September 27, 2022
Copley, who previously played for the Washington Capitals and St. Louis Blues, in his NHL career is 16-9-3 with a 2.98 goals-against average, .900 save percentage and one shutout. Last season, he played in two NHL games for the Caps. In the AHL, he went 18-12-5, 2.38, .913, with two shutouts. His AHL career numbers: 118-72-27, 2.52, .911, with 15 shutouts. He’s been even stingier in the Calder Cup playoffs: 9-7-0, 2.09, .935, with one shutout.
The Kings signed Copley as insurance. He earned a sweet deal – one season at $825,000. It’s a one-way deal – that means Copley gets $825K no matter whether he is in the NHL or AHL. His previous deal with Washington was likewise one-way, and even more lucrative – three years, $3.3 million.
Copley in 2014 turned pro with Washington after two seasons at Michigan Tech.
Copley, current Boston Bruin Jeremy Swayman of Anchorage and retired Ty Conklin of Anchorage are the only three Alaskans to play goalie in the NHL.
Copley is also the rare NHL player who has been traded twice, with both deals involving the same teams. Washington traded him to St. Louis in 2015 and St. Louis traded him back to Washington in 2017.