Cal Petersen, the Notre Dame standout drafted by Buffalo four years ago, won’t be signing with the Sabres, new GM Jason Botterill said on Friday.
“I’ve spoken to Cal. At this time I think he’s going to probably move to free agency and we’ll go from there,” Botterill said, per the Buffalo News. “Disappointed, but we’ll move on.”
Petersen, 22, is coming off a great junior year for the Fighting Irish. He went 23-12-5 with a .926 save percentage and 2.22 GAA, helping the club advance to the Frozen Four. Petersen was also named a finalist for this year’s Mike Richter Award, given annually to college hockey’s top goalie.
In April, he was named to the U.S. team at the World Hockey Championships in France and Germany. He was one of three goalies on the squad — along with Connor Hellebuyck and Jimmy Howard — but didn’t appear in any games.
In late May, Petersen announced he was forgoing his senior year at Notre Dame to turn pro, but declined to say which club he would be signing with. Buffalo’s rights to Petersen expire on Aug. 15.
This is a blow to the organization. The Sabres have some major question marks in goal, given presumptive No. 1 Robin Lehner is a restricted free agent and it’s unclear what the ceiling is on recently re-signed Linus Ullmark. What’s more, Buffalo has only drafted two goalies in the last four years — Petersen, and Sweden’s Jonas Johansson (third round, ’14).