Keith Kinkaid ranked among the New Jersey Devils’ AHL demotions on Saturday, which means that Scott Clemmensen “won” the New Jersey Devils backup role (at least for now).
“Won” is in quotation marks because the Devils’ No. 2 gig will likely amount to watching Cory Schneider try to prove that he’s worthy of the No. 1 gig and the seven-year, $42 million contract extension he signed this offseason.
(People probably won’t care that Schneider’s cap hit is still at $4 million for one more season if he struggles post-Martin Brodeur.)
Kinkaid, 25, is likely best served getting more reps in the AHL and could very well make like Dustin Tokarski in Montreal by grabbing starts over Clemmensen if Schneider were to suffer a substantial injury. That’s if the Devils believe in his potential more than Clemmensen’s experience, of course; at 37, Clemmensen enters his second tour with the Devils after spending five seasons with the Florida Panthers. He has 188 games of regular season experience at the NHL level, which is especially impressive if it helps you overlook a mediocre .906 career save percentage.
2012 first-rounder Stefan Matteau stands out among other demotions that include Reid Boucher and Seth Helgeson:
The New Jersey Devils became the first team to fail to pick up a single shootout win over an entire season last year going 0-13 in the skills competition – to put that number in perspective, they missed the final playoff spot by just five points in 2013-14.
Following the season, general manager Lou Lamoriello attempted to shake off the the poor showing in the shootout saying “it’s not a focus”.
It may be just preseason, but the Devils once again failed to pick up a win in a shootout Friday night falling 3-2 to the New York Islanders following the breakaway competition.
Reid Boucher was lone Devil to score in the shootout Friday. He had one of the four goals in 45 chances in shootouts last season.
Adam Henrique and newcomer Martin Havlat both missed following Boucher failing to send the shootout to a fourth round.
“That was brutal by (Havlat) and Rico (Henrique),” Patrik Elias jokingly told Rich Chere of the Star-Ledger. “I told Bouch they’ve got to make the rule they have in international play so one guy can go three times.”
It appears Havlat, who was with the San Jose Sharks last season, has caught the shootout bug, which ails the Devils.
“It’s been a while, I think, since they won a shootout,” Havlat said. “I think we just have to get better and calm down. The shot I had was not good at all. It didn’t matter tonight, but it’s an important part of the game. It’s important to get those points. We need to win some shootouts this year for sure.”
For those keeping score, the Devils last won in a shootout during the regular season on Mar. 10, 2013 and are 0-17 in that span.
Jordin Tootoo’s path to redemption will take him through New Jersey, according to Sportsnet’s Josh Rimer. He’s reportedly agreed to a professional tryout offer with the Devils.
The 31-year-old forward signed a three-year, $5.7 million contract with the Detroit Red Wings in the summer of 2012, but he spent the bulk of the 2013-14 campaign in the minors despite Detroit’s injury woes and was bought out in June.
He’s a physical forward that recorded six goals and 30 points in 77 games in his height with the Nashville Predators in 2011-12. He’ll be competing for a third or fourth line spot in New Jersey, although he has his work cut out for him given that the Devils already have 14 forwards signed to one-way contracts as well as young forwards Stefan Matteau and Reid Boucher competing for a spot.
Fellow free agents Scott Gomez and Ryan Carter will also be participating in the Devils’ training camp, so there are no shortage of candidates vying for those final roster spots.