The New Jersey Devils have traded goaltender Keith Kinkaid to the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for a fifth-round pick in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft.
A minor deal to start the final day before the NHL’s trade deadline, the Blue Jackets have acquired goaltending depth to bolster their ranks for the future given the uncertainty of Sergei Bobrovsky’s future with the team and Joonas Korpisalo’s play over the last two seasons.
The 29-year-old Kinkaid has gone 15-18-6 with the Devils this season in 41 games with a 3.36 goals-against average and .891 save percentage. It hasn’t been the best year for the pending unrestricted free agent. Despite his shortcomings this season, however, Kinkaid’s track record as a solid backup netminder prior to this season was enough for the Blue Jackets to pay the minimal cost of acquiring him as insurance come playoff time.
Bobrovsky may have turned things up as of late but Korpisalo has had a very rough time in the NHL over the last two seasons. In fact, the 24-year-old Finnish goalie hasn’t been anywhere close to the player at the NHL level that he appeared to be in his rookie season in 2015-16 when he’d go 16-11-4 with a 2.60 goals-against average and an impressive .920 save percentage.
In 151 career games, Kinkaid has gone 64-55-17 with a 2.90 goals-against average and .906 save percentage. Though he’ll have a chance to negotiate a new contract with all 31 teams on July 1, the Blue Jackets could be in the market to retain his services if Bobrovsky is indeed traded Monday or if he opts to sign elsewhere in the offseason.
Blue Jackets Going All-In for Stanley Cup
For the Blue Jackets, this trade deadline period appears to be about going all-in and making a play for a Stanley Cup despite the uncertainty that’s followed them with the future of Bobrovsky and especially superstar winger Artemi Panarin.
Heading into the deadline, the Blue Jackets already made two big trades, starting with the acquisition of Matt Duchene from the Ottawa Senators. The trade cost general manager Jarmo Kekalainen a lot but it was a move that he was willing to make to prove that his team is serious about contending. Just one day later, Kekalainen would make another splash and acquire Ryan Dzingel, also from the Senators.
The Blue Jackets sit in third place in the Metropolitan Division and are one point ahead of both the Carolina Hurricanes and Pittsburgh Penguins, holding a game in hand on both of those teams. They’re also four points behind the Washington Capitals (with two games in hand) and six points behind the New York Islanders.
The team has a chance to compete for a Championship this season and while this move may not be as flashy as some of the other moves they’ve made over the last few days, this depth move could be an important one down the stretch as goaltending is as important as any position in the league.
Brandon Share-Cohen has covered the NHL and various professional sports for six years. Working with The Hockey Writers, Brandon works extensively on covering the Boston Bruins in addition to his role as the News Team Lead.