The New Jersey Devils brought back backup goalie Keith Kinkaid on a two-year deal. After his performance last season, this was the smart move.
After two decades of having the best goalie of all time in net (yeah, I said it) in Martin Brodeur, New Jersey Devils fans are obviously jaded when it comes to goaltender play. They want the best every night, because that was what they were used to for most of their fandom. Now, with Cory Schneider in net, the position is polarizing.
That brings us to Keith Kinkaid. The Devils just announced they re-signed its backup goalie to a two-year deal that will pay him $2.5 million. Seeing how much some backups are making, this is a good price for Kinkaid.
Kinkaid was very good at times last year. He posted a .916 save percentage with a 2.64 GAA. If he qualified, he would have ranked 17th in the league in save percentage, a better number than even Schneider.
Kinkaid would have stretches where he was very good, but he was prone for a stinker. He allowed four or more goals in eight of his 26 games, but he also allowed one or zero goals in 10 games.
While Kinkaid had stretches where he was better than Schneider, he is in no way the choice to start. Schneider had an outlier season last year. If that same season happens again, the Devils have huge problems. Problems that Kinkaid won’t be able to fix.
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The Devils have two decent goalies in the AHL right now, but neither are ready for the big show. Scott Wedgewood’s talent is probably NHL ready, but he hasn’t showed he’s able to stay healthy for a full season. MacKenzie Blackwood is a former second-round pick that showed glimpses last season, but he needs a lot more seasoning before he puts the NJ crest on his chest.
If either becomes ready before Kinkaid’s contract is over, then he becomes trade bait. The market proves that teams are willing to pay for a good backup goalie on a good contract. This is a win-win for the Devils.
Kinkaid is a great locker room presence. Him and Schneider seem to have a very good relationship. This makes the goalie room much easier to deal with. Kinkaid’s surprisingly back for two years. If this is a precursor to free agency, it’s a very good sign.