General manager Tom Fitzgerald extended his streak of moves made to four days this morning. According to John Matisz of The Score, the New Jersey Devils have reportedly signed goaltender Scott Wedgewood to a one-season, two-way contract. The team has not officially announced it yet and how much the contract is not yet known as of this writing. However, Matisz has legitimate information and Corey Masisak of The Athletic has commented on it. I think this is happening.
Afternoon Update: The New Jersey Devils formally announced the signing of Wedgewood. It is indeed a one-season, two-way contract. The contract will pay out $700,000 at the NHL level and $200,000 at the AHL level.
This is a move made primarily for the Binghamton Devils. Wedgewood was dressed as a back-up for the Tampa Bay Lightning in the bubbles. However, he played entirely for their AHL affiliate in Syracuse last season. In 2018-19, Wedgewood was in the Buffalo organization and played entirely for their AHL affiliate in Rochester. Wedgewood is 28 and so I do not expect him to develop further. He should be in Binghamton as long Mackenzie Blackwood and Corey Crawford are healthy and available to play in New Jersey.
I think this is a good under-the-radar move for both New Jersey and the affiliate team. As good as I think the Devils did to sign Crawford, he is 35 and has a history of injuries. If either he or Blackwood are out hurt, the Devils would then have to turn to Gilles Senn or Evan Cormier to step up. Neither have been all that great in the AHL and this was justified by the fact the team brought in Zane McIntyre to support Binghamton in net last season. An experienced #3 goaltender for New Jersey would be useful and they have that now in Wedgewood.
As for Binghamton, they will have an experienced player to support Senn, who is entering his second season in the AHL in 2020-21. Wedgewood did not have a great season in Syracuse last season with an overall save percentage of 89.3% in 26 games. However, he did post a save percentage of 90.8% in 48 games with Rochester in 2018-19 so there is some reason to think he could bounce back and be decent. Senn and Cormier can effectively compete to be a part of the tandem. As per Masisak’s comments, I think Senn is the favorite as Cormier has been sent to Adirondack, the team’s affiliate in the ECHL, in the past and Senn has not.
It is nice to see Wedgewood come back to the organization. He was drafted in the third round in 2010 from Plymouth of the Ontario Hockey League. He played out his junior eligibility for two more seasons and did represent Canada at the 2012 World Junior Championships. He went pro in 2012-13 and ended up spending a lot more time with the ECHL affiliate in Trenton than with Albany in the AHL. In 2013-14, he established himself in Albany and remained there for 2014-15. In 2015-16, Wedgewood made his NHL debut and was absolutely amazing in a call up that lasted four games. He stopped 95.7% of all shots and allowed just five goals with one shutout. Calling it hot would be an understatement. Wedgewood did have a great season in Albany in 22 appearances. His 2016-17 season was cut short due to injury as he played in just 10 games. They would be his last in New Jersey’s organization for a while as the Devils traded him to Arizona in October 2017 for a fifth round pick. Wedgewood did get more opportunities in the desert. He did play in 20 games with the Coyotes. Those 20 games did not go very well as he posted an overall save percentage of 89.3%. He was traded in February 2018 in a deal that would become valuable for Arizona: Wedgewood and Tobias Rieder to Los Angeles for Darcy Kuemper. Wedgewood made six appearances for Ontario before hitting the free agent market. He signed with Buffalo for 2018-19 and played entirely in Rochester. He signed with Tampa Bay last year and played for Syracuse. Wedgewood is now back to the team where he started and will likely spend a lot of time with the AHL affiliate, which is now in Binghamton, New York.
I will update this post later today when the salary information comes out. However, I would not expect it to be significant. A two-way deal means Wedgewood will be paid at a lower rate in the AHL and those deals rarely have a significant amount for the NHL level. The Devils went into today with over $18 million in cap space; this signing should not have much of an impact from that perspective. (Afternoon Update: It’s not significant. It’s a minimum salary for the NHL and $200,000 at the AHL level.)
In the meantime, I want to know what you think. Are you happy to see Scott Wedgewood back in the Devils organization? Do you think he is a good option as a #3 goalie, or do you think the Devils should have looked elsewhere? Do you think this signing will help or hinder (or not at all) Senn’s and Cormier’s development in the system? Please leave your answers and other thoughts about this reported signing in the comments. Thank you for reading.