30-Year-Old Goalie – Los Angeles Kings
Jeff Zatkoff Contract Information:
Signed a two-year, $1.8 million contract with the Kings in July 2016.
Zatkoff was waived by the Kings on Tuesday, James Mirtle of The Athletic Toronto reports.
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RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
There was no outlook written for Jeff Zatkoff.
After getting usurped in Pittsburgh last season by the sensation known as Matt Murray, Zatkoff’s crossed the country to start fresh with a two-year deal to be Jonathan Quick’s understudy in Los Angeles. He did credible, if unimpressive work when called upon by the Penguins over the past few years, and his presence likely means that Quick will approach 70 starts again this year. At 29 years old, Zatkoff’s got the profile of a career backup.
Despite doing fairly effective work as Marc-Andre Fleury's backup two years ago, Zatkoff was banished to the AHL last year in favor of Thomas Greiss, who served one uninspiring campaign in Pittsburgh before moving on. Zatkoff was thus left to ply his trade in the AHL, where he accumulated solid, but fairly modest numbers -- an 18-14-0 record with a .910 save mark and 2.45 GAA. Now 28 years old, Zatkoff's not much of a prospect, and he'll be stuck with backup duties behind Fleury once again, so he's unlikely to make more than about 18 starts this year. When he does, though, the Pens' upgraded offense should help him to some wins.
Despite a decent rookie season, Pens GM Jim Rutherford brought in veteran Thomas Greiss to challenge Zatkoff for the backup goaltender spot in Pittsburgh. Zatkoff got off to a shaky start, posting a 5.06 GAA in two October games, but then reeled off a 10-game unbeaten streak (9-0-1) spaced out from November to March. In the end, the former Los Angeles Kings' asset compiled a 12-6-2 record with a 2.61 GAA and .912 save percentage. It's unlikely that Zatkoff's role with the team grows, even if the team moves Marc-Andre Fleury. If Zatkoff beats out Greiss for the backup job, then he could serve as a decent pickup whenever the Pens play on back-to-back nights and want to rest their starter.
Zatkoff went 26-20 with a 1.93 GAA and .920 save percentage in his first season with Wilkes-Barre in 2012-13. He only played in five postseason contests while fellow Baby Penguins netminder, Brad Thiessen, saw action in 12 contests. Thiessen has since decided to goaltend in Europe for the upcoming season, so the opportunity for full-time duty is there. With Pittsburgh's goaltending situation more unsettled than usual, it's possible Zatkoff could find his way to Consol Energy Center in 2013-14. Zatkoff has already played five years in the AHL, though he's only 26 years of age.
Zatkoff has spent parts of the last four years in the AHL playing for Manchester. In 2011-12, he posted 21-17-1 mark with a 2.49 goals-against average and a .920 save percentage. He goes from a Los Angeles organization that features Jonathan Quick to one with Marc-Andre Fleury ahead of him. He'll fight for playing time with Brad Thiessen in Wilkes-Barre (AHL) and will likely need to bide his time before getting any sort of a shot in the NHL. Still, Zatkoff has put up decent numbers in the AHL and, at 25, has time to reach Pittsburgh.
Zatkoff was expected to take over the reigns for Manchester in the AFL after Jonathan Bernier's ascension to the Kings but a slow start saw him lose playing time to Martin Jones. Zatkoff saw more action as the season wore on and got the bulk of the playing time from March onward, ending the season with a 20-17-5 record, a .911 save percentage and a 2.68 GAA. He needs to cement himself in the AHL this season if he wants to have much of a future in the NHL.