Keith Kinkaid had to work to earn the trust of New Jersey Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello, but he finally won out — and the team has inked the 25-year old rookie to a two year contract extension. Per the club, the one way deal will earn him $1.45 over the two seasons.
The undrafted netminder from Farmingville, New York spent two seasons tending goal at Union College before being signed as a free agent by the Devils to compete for a starting role with the AHL Albany Devils. He was thrown into the mix almost immediately and competed for most of his rookie season with former Devils draft pick Jeff Frazee, ultimately edging the Minnesota alum out of the starting role and improving his numbers enough to get a one-game look at the NHL level in 2013.
The 2013-2014 season saw Kinkaid take near complete control of the netminding duties in Albany, but Lamoriello’s lack of faith in veteran backup Scott Clemmensen earned Kinkaid a chance to back up starter Cory Schneider on a long-term basis. The team was floundering in front of the elite number one, and the intense non-stop starts he was given to start the year eventually gave in to an opportunity for Kinkaid to become more of a mainstay on the franchise.
In his nineteen appearances for the Devils, Kinkaid finished his first pro NHL season with a .915 SV% and 2.59 GAA. Known for being a netminder who isn’t afraid to commit to his positioning and excels at rebound control, he’ll likely improve his numbers over the next two seasons — making the two year deal both safe for New Jersey and reasonable for him. Should he continue to post league-average numbers, the end of his extension could signal the end of Kinkaid’s tenure in Jersey — but if he manages to improve and gain confidence at the NHL level, a long-term career as a well-paid and reliable backup could be in the cards.