NHL Hockey

Joonas Korpisalo might debut for Kings against Blues

Newly acquired goalie Joonas Korpisalo could make his team debut for the Los Angeles Kings when they host the St. Louis Blues on Saturday night.

Korpisalo and defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov were acquired from the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for veteran goalie Jonathan Quick and two draft picks on Wednesday, one of the more surprising moves in the days leading up to Friday's NHL trade deadline.

Quick, who led the Kings to Stanley Cup titles in 2012 and 2014, was in the final season of a 10-year contract. Columbus then dealt the 37-year-old to the Kings' Pacific Division rival, the Vegas Golden Knights.

Korpisalo, who turns 29 next month, had a 3.17 goals-against average and a .911 save percentage in 28 games with the Blue Jackets this season, including 26 starts. Columbus has the fewest points in the NHL (46).

Heading into this season, Los Angeles was counting on Cal Petersen to grab the reins as the No. 1 starter, but he was demoted to Ontario of the American Hockey League after posting a 3.75 GAA and an .868 save percentage in his first 10 games.

In 26 games for Ontario through Thursday, Petersen had a 2.71 GAA and a .914 save percentage, more in line with his NHL numbers the past two seasons.

Since Petersen's demotion, Los Angeles received surprisingly strong play in goal from Pheonix Copley, who spent more time in the AHL than the NHL in the previous eight seasons.

Copley, who has played with St. Louis (2015-16 and 2016-17) and the Washington Capitals (2018-19 and 2021-22), won nine of his first 10 starts with the Kings and 12 of 14. Even when he hasn't been as sharp, Copley has kept Los Angeles within striking distance in most of his appearances.

Copley has never appeared in a postseason game, however, while Korpisalo made nine starts for the Blue Jackets during the 2019-20 playoffs.

"We haven't come in and said, 'Hey, Korpisalo is our No. 1 guy,'" Kings coach Todd McLellan said. "What we've said is, Korpisalo is a part of our team and Copley is part of our team. They're both important and they're both going to play."

The Blues made a notable move on Friday, acquiring forward Jakub Vrana from the Detroit Red Wings for forward Dylan McLaughlin and a seventh-round draft pick in the 2025 draft.

Vrana, 27, was selected 13th overall by the Capitals in the 2014 draft and helped them win the Stanley Cup in 2018. He's shown flashes of excellence, but has had difficulty earning playing time and then staying on the ice.

St. Louis claimed forward Kasperi Kapanen off waivers from the Pittsburgh Penguins last weekend, and he scored his first goal for the Blues on Thursday, an empty-netter in a 6-3 win over the San Jose Sharks to start a three-game road trip and end a six-game losing streak (0-4-2).

The Kings are coming off a 3-2 win over the visiting Montreal Canadiens on Thursday.

On Friday, the Kings traded one enforcer for another, sending forward Brendan Lemieux along with a fifth-round pick in 2024 to the Philadelphia Flyers for forward Zack MacEwen.

The Kings also acquired forward Nate Schnarr from the Canadiens in exchange for defenseman Frederic Allard. Schnarr, a third-round pick of the Arizona Coyotes in 2017, has not appeared in an NHL game.

--Field Level Media

Updated March 3, 2023

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