Mar 5, 2013; Newark, NJ, USA; New Jersey Devils goalie Keith Kinkaid (35) makes save against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the third period at the Prudential Center. Tampa Bay Lightning defeat the New Jersey Devils 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Jim O

Keith Kinkaid: Has He Earned A Bigger Contract?

Goaltender Keith Kinkaid is coming off of the best season of his professional hockey career. With the Albany Devils, Kinkaid played 43 games and posted a 2.29 GAA and a .912 save percentage.

The goals against average is the best he has posted since his 1.99 GAA with Union College in the NCAA in 2010-11.

He’s taken another step, and that’s what they’re supposed to do. Its one thing to have a good year, but how do you improve on that the next year. And Keith has managed to do it physically, mentally, emotionally, every year find a way to improve.– Rick Kowalsky (May 5, 2014)

Following that season, Keith signed a 2-year Entry Level contract and has only played 1 regular season game with New Jersey in his career. He has played 130 games with Albany through the 2013-14 season.

After average numbers with the AHL squad in his first two years, Keith signed a 1-year, 2-way, $550,000 contract that had his AHL salary $7,500 greater at $72,000 for the year. He responded by putting up great numbers this season and helped Albany to their first playoff appearance since 2009-10 before he was even on the team.

Keith was 24-13-5 on the season and had the third best GAA in the AHL. He even won AHL Player of the Week at one point in the season.

With Martin Brodeur likely leaving New Jersey, a backup goaltender spot is now open as the Devils try to extend Cory Schneider‘s contract. I think that Keith Kinkaid is ready to have that chance to play around 20 games next season and try to raise his value.

Due to Keith being a Restricted Free Agent this season, Cap Geek has his qualifying offer estimated at $605,000. The Devils are relatively thin in the goaltending department with the only other candidates being Scott Wedgewood and Maxime Clermont while Anthony Brodeur is also still playing in Canada.

I think everyone will move up the ladder to replace Brodeur or Schneider’s previous spot (however you want to look at it) and increase their ranks.

Should Keith Kinkaid get more than one year? I think he should get 2 years. I could see the Devils giving him a 2-way contract (unless he is and will always be the clear cut backup) or they could even make it 1-way for one year and 2-way for the second year (the same way Stephen Gionta‘s contract was laid out).

2 years is enough time to gauge his true value as the backup of the team and also ensures that he will be under contract should anything drastic break down between Schneider and the Devils. It doesn’t seem that it could happen, but you never know.

As for salary, I don’t think the Devils will go crazy with his salary since he is a backup. I could see them going a little bit higher than the qualifying and offer him something close to $660,000 a year. I wouldn’t be too surprised if he landed in the $700,000s either.

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