With Cory Schneider back in the line up the Devils essentially find themselves with three goaltenders. Coach Hynes and the organization have made it clear they want to see more of 22-year-old goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood. For that to happen they must make room for him.
Paying $6million per year until 2022 you’re not going to move Cory Schneider, especially with his current stats. That leaves Keith Kinkaid, so where are some possible landing spots?
Kinkaid has a 14-16-6 record with a 3.18 goals against average. In most of the teams loses Coach Hynes has often spoke in interviews and said he didn’t believe goaltending was part of the issue. Logically the best landing spot for Kinkaid would be a team making a playoff push. More than likely the team has a better defense than the Devils and you’ll see his 3.18 GAA dwindle down.
The first team I’m looking at are the Vancouver Canucks. Vancouver is currently sitting in the final western wild card spot with 54 points. Jacob Markstrom is the current starter for Vancouver with the backup being Thatcher Demko, who just suffered a knee injury and was sent home from the current road trip. The Canucks have 9 picks in the upcoming draft with three of them being in the 6th round. If the Canucks are serious about making a playoff push, they have the option to send Demko to Utica or place him on the IR depending his injury situation. This would allow them to make a trade for Kinkaid maybe giving up a 3rd round draft pick. Kinkaid led the Devils on a playoff push last year and could easily help a young Vancouver team with a push as well.
There have been talks that the St. Louis Blues may be getting ready to trade Jake Allen. The Blues sit one point behind Vancouver fighting to get into the wild card. If a trade happens and it doesn’t include the Blues getting a goaltender in return, that leaves St. Louis with Jordan Binnington. In 11 games played with St. Louis Binnington has a 7-1-1 record with a 1.88 GAA. There is no doubt he’s their future, but can he handle a playoff push on his own? The Blues only have 5 picks in the upcoming draft but may get another pick in return if they deal Allen, this would more than likely allow them to give up their 3rd round pick for Kinkaid.
The Carolina Hurricanes although a division “rival” could be a landing spot. I don’t necessarily see a trade involving Kinkaid happening here but it’s worth mentioning. Carolina is in a great position to make a push for the final spot in the playoffs. They have 9 draft picks in the upcoming draft to offer, the only downfall is they would most likely place Curtis McElhinney on waivers. McElhinney has had a solid season so far posting a 2.37 GAA. New Jersey is unlikely to re-sign Kinkaid which could turn this move into permanent spot if the Canes decide to offer him a deal.
Keith Kinkaid seems to be a favorite among fans as well as teammates, but as we’ve seen in the past with Adam Henrique and now Brian Boyle this is a business and you do what you need to do. Mackenzie Blackwood is lined up to be the future goaltender of the Devils and in order to see more of him this season a move must be made. Devils fans may not like the move with Schneider’s lack of play this year, but trading Kinkaid is the only logical option if they want to see Blackwood again this season. If I’m New Jersey, I’m making phone calls to Vancouver.