The New Jersey Devils officially have their goalie duo set.
The team announced on Wednesday morning that it has re-signed goalie Mackenzie Blackwood to a three-year contract that will pay him $8.4 million. That works out to a salary cap hit of $2.8 million per season. Blackwood was a restricted free agent.
“Mackenzie is going to be one of the key young, core pieces for this organization for a long time and we are excited and extremely happy to have him under contract,” general manager Tom Fitzgerald said in a team statement. “He’s obviously shown that he can be a number one goalie, and the sky’s the limit for him.”
As part of the contract he will earn $1.475 million in salary this season, $2.8 million next season, and $4.125 million in year three of the contract.
Blackwood, 24, appeared in 47 games for the Devils during the 2019-20 season with a .915 save percentage and took over the starting job. That performance earned him a sixth-place finish in the Calder Trophy voting for the league’s Rookie Of The Year. He has a .916 save percentage in 70 career games over parts of two seasons. Expect him to be one of the breakout candidates in the league this season.
[Related: ProHockeyTalk’s 2020 NHL Free Agency Tracker]
He will share the crease with veteran Corey Crawford who was signed in free agency earlier this offseason. That duo could be good enough to keep the Devils competitive in a tough division, and take what was at the start of last season their biggest weakness and turn it into a strength. Crawford had a .917 save percentage in 40 starts with the Chicago Blackhawks. Both goalies finished in the top of the league in overall save percentage. Together they will account for $6.7 million of salary cap space over the next two seasons.
This is also a really good deal for the Devils against the salary cap, and could become a steal in a year or two if Blackwood continues to play the way he has so far in his career. Just for comparisons sake, that $2.8 million salary cap number is nearly $800,000 less than what Tristan Jarry received (a goalie with a similar number of starts, and a lower career save percentage) earlier this offseason from the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.