Keith Kinkaid signed a 1-year, 2-way deal this past summer and is looking to make his splash in the NHL.
Last season, Keith posted a 2.29 GAA which was his best since 2010-11 for Union College in the NCAA. Keith carried the team throughout most of the season and finally broke out onto the scene in the Devils organization.
GM Lou Lamoriello has stated that Keith will most likely be the backup going into training camp and he will find himself fighting for a spot against the likes of Scott Wedgewood and Scott Clemmensen. Can Kinkaid seize this opportunity to really cash in on his NHL salary? If so, what role on the team will he have?
When the Devils extended Cory Schneider’s contract, it became clear that the Devils had Schneider pretty much until he retired. That move signaled the end of the Martin Brodeur era. It also signaled the beginning (potentially) of Keith Kinkaid’s permanent NHL career whether it be with the Devils or eventually with another team.
If Kinkaid does solidify his spot as a backup, how many games will he play? I think Schneider will play in around 60-65 games next season. Towards the end of the season, Schneider may be needed more so that number could also fluctuate.
Scott Clemmensen is one goalie who knows what it’s like to be in Kinkaid’s situation. A few years ago, Martin Brodeur had an injury that kept him out for months. Not only did the Devils survive with Scott in net, they played at an even higher level than before. Clemmensen then received a starting job elsewhere. That is exactly what could happen with Keith if he ends up in the same situation as Scott was.
After this season, Keith Kinkaid will still be a Restricted Free Agent but the Devils could also trade his rights to a team that could desperately need him. The Devils may need a backup, but for the right price they could be convinced to deal Kinkaid if it meant improving the team.
It is interesting to see what will happen with Keith Kinkaid in the 2014-15 season. He proved his worth in the AHL and was one of the best goalies in the American Hockey League last season. Now, it’s his time to make a splash, albeit a backup one, in the NHL and fight for a future job with a team.