Los Angeles Kings Sign Pending Free Agent to 1-Year Contract

The Los Angeles Kings have signed goalie David Rittich to a 1-year contract extension.

Getty The Los Angeles Kings have signed goalie David Rittich to a 1-year contract extension.

With their season ending in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs at the hands of the Edmonton Oilers, the Los Angeles Kings have already transitioned to off-season mode.

On Wednesday, May 15, the Kings announced they had signed netminder David Rittich, a then-upcoming free agent, to a one-year, $1 million contract through the 2024-25 season.

Rittich, who was about to enter the market as an unrestricted free agent on July 1, 2024, will instead spend the next season in Los Angeles. That being said, he will have to wait to know who will need to beat on his way to becoming the no. 1 goalie of the Kings in 2025

The Los Angeles Kings Need to Rebuild Goaltender Rotation

By signing Rittich to a new, one-year contract extension, the Kings now have one goalie on their roster ahead of next season.

That’s because Los Angeles only boasted pending free agents in their squad this year, including Rittich, Cam Talbot, and Pheonix Copley. Following Rittich’s extension, the latter two might be on the outside looking and on the way out of California.

Ahead of the trade deadline on March 8, 2024, Kings General Manager Rob Blake explored the market trying to acquire a bonafide netminder. One of his targets, according to a report by Frank Seravalli, was Boston Bruins goaltender Linus Ullmark.

The trade for Ullmark didn’t materialize as the goalie has a no-trade clause in his contract allowing him to block that move. This summer, however, things might change if Blake keeps interested in adding a goalie to bolster the Kings rotation.

Other netminders in consideration because of their perceived availability in trades could be Jacob Markstrom of the Calgary Flames and Juuse Saros of the Nashville Predators.

The Athletic’s Julian McKenzie mentioned the Kings as a potential trade suitor (depending on “whether or not the Kings would be willing to part with their top prospect”) for Markstrom in a February 2024 story posted before the deadline.

Veteran David Rittich Will Try to Keep Moving Up the Kings Ladder

When the Kings first acquired Rittich in July 2023 giving him a 1-year deal, he joined the team as the third-string goalie and not expected to take on a bulky role.

Things, however, changed for him and the Kings as the season progressed and mostly because of Pheonix Copley’s season-ending injury opening the door for Rittich to take on, at the very least, a backup role with the Kings.

Rittich formed a tandem with fellow Kings goalie Cam Talbot while handling a reserve role for the most part. He started getting mor starts in January and February 2024, however, and he finished the year with a 13-6-3 record, a .921% save percentage, and 2.15 goals against average.

The goalie started Games 4 and 5 of the first-round series against the Oilers in the playoffs, lossing both and finish the season with a final outing in which he saved 22 of 26 shots for a subpar .846 SV% as he and the Kings crashed out of the postseason.

The Calgary Flames were Rittich’s first team. He signed with the Flames after going undrafted, making his debut in the 2016-17 NHL season. Rittich spent four full seasons with the Flames and part of the 2021 campaign before Calgary reached an agreement for his trade to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

After spending the final part of the 2021 season with the Leafs, Rittich signed a 1-year deal with the Nashville Predators for the 2022 season, and he did the same one year later joining the Winnipeg Jets in the summer of 2022 before signing with the Kings in the 2023 offseason.

Rittich has started 118 games of the 130 he’s played at the NHL level posting a 63-39-15 record with a .908 save percentage and 2.83 goals against average.

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