Cal Petersen has two weeks to decide whether to join the Sabres or test the waters of free agency before playing in an NHL game.
The former Notre Dame goalie, selected by the Sabres in the fifth round in the 2013 draft, announced May 31 he would forego his final season of college eligibility. Petersen had 30 days from then – giving him an end date that coincides with the start of NHL free agency on July 1 – to utilize the collective bargaining agreement rules to try his hand at free agency or join the team that drafted him.
"We're gonna meet with him again next week," Sabres GM Jason Botterill said Thursday after new head coach Phil Housley's introductory press conference. "Obviously, coming to the organization I didn't have a strong relationship with Cal, but I've enjoyed our dialogues with him. It's a situation, where in the CBA, he has that right" to test free agency. "Both players and team utilize the right of the CBA, but through the whole process we've continued to have our dialogues with him.
"He has good relationships with the goalie development staff in our organization and we also think it's a great fit here, both in Buffalo and Rochester, for him to achieve his NHL goals."
Sabres star Jack Eichel has been courting Petersen to Buffalo and knows the 22-year-old from their time representing the United States at the world championships in May.
“I obviously told him that we’d love to have him," Eichel told The Buffalo News in May. "I just kind of gave him a bit of an earful about what Buffalo is like, how passionate the people were here and how great an organization it is."
As recently as Wednesday, Petersen's representation wouldn't comment to The News whether Petersen had made a decision regarding his future. The netminder finished first all-time at Notre Dame in save percentage (.924) and third in saves (3,042) and goals against average (2.30).
Asked whether he sensed Petersen is waiting until June 21st's expansion draft to see where goalies land before making his own decision, Botterill admitted "that's certainly a possibility."
"I think certainly just there's a lot of change in our organization, too, whether its the National Hockey League coach, myself coming in, who's gonna be the coach in Rochester," Botterill said. "So there's a lot that's going on but the dialogues have always been very good with Cal."