The New Jersey Devils have traded goaltender Keith Kinkaid to the Columbus Blue Jackets for a draft pick.
The pick is reportedly a fifth-round selection for the 2022 NHL Entry Draft.
The deal crowds the crease in Columbus and certainly sets the stage for a deal to be made down the line, with general manager Jarmo Kekalainen once again making moves to improve his club ahead of a playoff run.
The Blue Jackets have been working to solve the Sergei Bobrovsky situation, as we’ve reported, and they’d like to give Joonas Korpisalo his time to shine as a starter.
Kinkaid is an interesting fit in this scenario because it all but assures what most people already know: Bobrovsky has no future in Columbus.
The 29-year-old Kinkaid has 15 wins in 38 starts this season, with a .891 save percentage and a 3.36 goals against average. He put together a 26-win campaign last season with the Devils and the Blue Jackets like his upside when it comes to goalie depth.
Kekalainen has been doing everything in his power to give the Blue Jackets a boost and that’s included two high-profile swaps with the Ottawa Senators. He first acquired Matt Duchene on Friday and followed up by pulling Ryan Dzingel a day later.
Some are still waiting to see what Columbus will do with Artemi Panarin, who, along with Bobrovsky, has made no secret about his desire to get out of Dodge.
To that end, it makes sense that Kekalainen would be working to forge his team as a club to reckon with.
And as Monday’s trade deadline day wears on, it certainly seems that anything is possible for this bold general manager.
There are, of course, risks to this brand of management. Dzingel and Duchene are set to become unrestricted free agents come July 1 and Kekalainen did shed some future prospects for his pickups.
But if the Blue Jackets can get a deal or two done and lock in one of their new hires to a reasonable contract, it’s possible Kekalainen looks like a genius in the face of wide-eyed action around the trade circuit.
Kinkaid, too, is set to become an unrestricted free agent come July 1.
(Photo credit: USA Today)