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Keith Kinkaid Returns; New Jersey Devils Signed Kinkaid to a Two-Way, One Season Deal

Ahead of training camp opening for veterans, the New Jersey Devils signed a veteran goaltender. Keith Kinkaid returns to the organization for a two-way contract. This post covers his history as a whole and where he stands.

Carolina Hurricanes v New Jersey Devils
Keith Kinkaid returns
Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images

Earlier this morning, the New Jersey Devils announced a signing of a former member of the organization. The Devils announced on their website that they have signed goaltender Keith Kinkaid to a two-way contract for one season. He will be paid at the league minimum in the NHL at $775,000 and $350,000 at the AHL level. This will be Kinkaid’s second time with the New Jersey Devils.

Needless to say, the Devils wanted another veteran goalie option for depth. Nico Daws is out until December or so. Tyler Brennan is signed to an entry-level contract and is entering his first professional season of hockey. The Devils signed Erik Källgren back on July 1 as coverage. Rather than leave Utica to Källgren, Brennan, and AHL/ECHL goalie Isaac Poulter, the Devils opted to add a familiar veteran face. Perhaps more veteran as Kinkaid is now 34.

Correction: Per Ben Birnell of the Utica-Rome Sentinel on X, Kinkaid would be assigned to the Chicago Wolves if he is sent to the AHL. The Wolves are not the Devils’ affiliate - or anyone else’s affiliate. They are independent for 2023-24 due to a falling out with the Carolina Hurricanes. Kinkaid signed an AHL contract with the Wolves on July 18. While a player on an AHL contract can be signed to a NHL deal, the lack of affiliation means he could be assigned there.

Given that Kinkaid is a veteran goalie, I do not think the Devils want to control how much he plays - a source of what led to the falling out between the Wolves and Canes. Just that he is active somewhere. Utica’s goalie situation will be Källgren, Brennan, and when he returns, Daws with Poulter and Jeremy Brodeur likely in Adirondack. Kinkaid will not take up a spot with the Comets. Unless something changes that forces Kinkaid to go to Utica, of course.

Thanks to alslammerz for pointing this out. The post remains as follows:

Kinkaid will be remembered by some of the People Who Matter as the goalie who helped secure the Devils only playoff appearance under GM Ray Shero’s reign back in 2018. Kinkaid was legitimately good for a few months in the 2017-18 season as the Devils secured the postseason. His time in the organization was much broader than that.

Kinkaid was signed by the Devils in April 2011 after two successful seasons at Union College. He made the All Rookie team in the ECAC conference in 2009-10 and was the Goaltender of the Year in the ECAC along with making the NCAA East All-American First Team in 2010-11. He joined Albany in 2011-12 and played in 42 games. He largely stayed in Albany for the next two seasons with a NHL debut during the 2012-13 season. He would become more prominent as Cory Schnedier’s backup in 2014-15 with 19 appearances in New Jersey in 2014-15. He remained in the NHL for the next four seasons as the #2 goalie behind Schneider. He even represented the United States in the World Championships twice in 2016 and 2018, the latter of which earned him a Bronze Medal. That 2018 season featured the most NHL games Kinkaid would play in a season with 41 with an overall save percentage of 91.3% that season. While his overall save percentage was a bit higher in 2016-17, the 2017-18 season featured more games and even playoff action. I would say that was his peak.

Unfortunately, it was a quick downfall for Kinkaid. Due to Schneider’s injuries, Kinkaid once again carried a large load in 2018-19. Except it went far, far worse. He posted an 89.1% overall save percentage over 41 games. He did not finish the season with New Jersey. On February 25, 2019, less than two months shy of his 8th year with the organization, he was traded to Columbus. For a fifth round pick in 2022. Yes, a pick four seasons ahead of when the trade was made. Given that Kinkaid was one of the worst goalies in the NHL at the time and on an expiring contract, that was about what you could get for such a player. For what it is worth, that pick became Petr Hauser.

Kinkaid dressed but never played for the Blue Jackets in the crease. He was a pending free agent so he moved on. Kinkaid signed with Montreal for a season at $1.75 million. Kinkaid played in 6 games for Montreal, 13 for Laval, and posted sub 88% save percentages in both places. Kinkaid moved on once more to Our Hated Rivals in 2021. There, he was depth once more with 9 appearances for the NHL team and two games with Hartford. Kinkaid would re-sign and see much more of Hartford as he played in 37 games with the Wolf Pack and made one appearance for Manhattan’s team. Kinkaid signed with Boston last season. Purely a depth goalie, Kinkaid saw one game with Boston, which went very well, and 20 with Providence, which went OK-ish. He was traded to Colorado during the season. He got clean up duty in one game and played in seven games with the AHL Eagles that could be summed up as pretty good. Kinkaid played for four different organizations over the last four seasons. It would be fair to describe him as a journeyman goalie. Now his journey has taken him back to Newark.

Kinkaid is now 34 and I would like to think he is appreciative of his place in the hockey world. Kinkaid was never drafted and, with all due respect to the Dutchmen alumnus, not a big name hockey school. But the pros took notice of his excellence and it has led to a long career in pro hockey. Kinkaid may ultimately be in Utica Chicago for most of this coming season. Whether he knows it or not (he probably does), he will be competing with Källgren and Brennan as a potential call-up should anything happen to Vitek Vanecek or Akira Schmid in 2023-24. Even if he is

I think he has more than a fair shot at getting a call up. He does have the benefit of having 169 games of NHL experience compared with Källgren’s 24 and Brennan’s zero. Kinkaid also has the benefit of performing much better in the NHL than Källgren’s appearances. Lastly, Kinkaid has had spot duty for the past few seasons so he is used to the role he will be stepping into. One could question why he was not signed on July 1 instead of Källgren. All the same, the Devils’ depth in goaltender, at least by volume, is improved with this signing. And, of course, if it does not work out, then it ends after this season and both sides can move on.

That is my take on this signing. Now I want to know your take. Do you think this signing makes sense for the Devils? Are you pleased to see Kinkaid return to the organization? Please leave your answers and other thoughts about this signing in the comments. Thank you for reading.