New Jersey Devils: Keith Kinkaid’s Trade Value is Plummeting

NEWARK, NJ - MARCH 29: Keith Kinkaid
NEWARK, NJ - MARCH 29: Keith Kinkaid /

When you look around the NHL, there are many teams in need of a goaltender.  Both goalies in Florida have been abysmal. Craig Anderson has struggled ever since Ottawa’s playoff run.  The Flyers never have good goalies. Jake Allen is one of the most inconsistent netminders in the league. The list goes on.  It is apparent that goaltending has not been great this season.

The New Jersey DevilsKeith Kinkaid would have been a perfect fit for one of these teams just a few months ago.  He had a brilliant 2017-18 season, as he was one of the main factors in New Jersey’s return to the Stanley Cup Playoffs.  Despite a poor performance in the series against the Lightning, the offseason was when Kinkaid’s trade value was at its highest.

This season has been a completely difference case.  Things came crashing down for Kinkaid and the Devils after winning four straight games to begin the year, as they now sit in the bottom 5 of the standings.  A part of this has to do with poor goaltending, and Kinkaid has struggled immensely. In 32 starts, he has a 3.07 goals against average and a brutal .898 save percentage.

The bad news for the Devils is that Cory Schneider has been even worse.  This is why when 22-year-old Mackenzie Blackwood got his opportunity with the big club and shined, Devils fans had hope again.  Despite the small sample size of 8 games prior to his injury, Blackwood posted a sub-2 GAA and a sparkling .947 save percentage.

In the 2015 Draft, the Devils were in desperate need of offense.  The team had finished 28th in the league in goals the previous season.  Because of this, it was a head scratcher when New Jersey selected goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood with the 36th pick.  At the time, Cory Schneider was fresh off of the best season by a Devils goalie since prime Marty, and Kinkaid had established himself as a steady backup.

It turns out that Ray Shero hit on this pick.  Blackwood appears to be the goalie of the future for the Devils, making Kinkaid available for trade.  Unfortunately, as I mentioned earlier, Kinkaid’s play has been bad, and really diminishing his trade value in the process.  Why would a contending team in need of goaltending help give up anything valuable for a struggling Kinkaid when they can look to acquire a better goalie elsewhere?

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At this point, the Devils would probably be lucky to get a fourth rounder for Kinkaid.  He is a free agent at the end of the season, so if the team doesn’t have him in their plans, you don’t want to lose him for nothing.

The solution I propose is is to play Kinkaid as much as possible leading up to the February 25th trade deadline.  If his play improves during this stretch, his trade value will also increase. If not, I believe he should be dealt for whatever New Jersey can get for him.

With 2018-19 looking more and more like a wasted season, one positive thing that can possibly be taken away will be goaltending.  If Keith gets traded, along with Eddie Lack and Schneider being hurt, the door will be open for young goalies in the system to get opportunities in the NHL. Blackwood will likely gets the majority of the playing time, but 24-year-old Cam Johnson and 21-year-old Evan Cormier might also get some looks. If they play well, the Devils can feel very good about their future in net heading into the offseason.

Devils fans have been spoiled with good goaltending for decades.  We went straight from 20 years of Brodeur to a few excellent years of Cory Schneider.  Unfortunately, the past couple of years have not been like this. New Jersey’s future in net is actually very promising, but Keith Kinkaid is not a part of that.  Trading him for any asset available is the best move for the team and developing its young goaltenders.