Bruce Fedyck - USA TODAY Sports
Will Kinkaid start this weekend against Buffalo, or possibly during next week's back-to-back set of games?
The New Jersey Devils have dropped three games straight. Martin Brodeur has a sore back and is currently on injured reserve. Johan Hedberg is playing at a mediocre level. The Devils offense is...idle. The Devils need a wake-up call. Why not start Keith Kinkaid and see if that shock gives the Devils a kick in the butt.
My initial reaction is, why not?
The Possible Games for Kinkaid's First Start
Realistically, there are two games I could see Kinkaid playing, either the next game against the Sabres, or the first game of the back-to-back next week (vs. Toronto). There is no way the Devils will start Kinkaid against the Lightning's high-octane offense. The Lightning have the number one offense in the league, scoring 3.55 goals per game. Assuming Marty stays on injured reserve through the middle of the week, Hedberg will most likely need a break for one of the back-to-back games, however, Toronto is no easy task. The Maple Leafs are 5th in the league with 2.91 goals per game. Therefore, the Buffalo Sabres look like a likely candidate for Kinkaid to start. The Sabres are 22nd in goals per game with 2.48 goals per game. They also have a paltry 0.84 5v5 goals for/against ratio. Therefore, the Devils could give Kinkaid his first NHL start against an offense that is having their own troubles scoring.
While Hedberg had a great start to the season, his last four games have been, well, downright bad, with last nights performance being his best. In those four games, Hedberg has allowed 16 goals and has a save percentage of .849. However, 6 of those goals have came on the power play. Moose needs to pick up the play if Marty is out for awhile.
Kinkaid had a full season last year in Albany and didn't disappoint. In 42 games in Albany last season, Kinkaid put together a solid .904 SV% and a 2.94 GAA. He also manage to pick up 17 wins. Also, Kinkaid did this behind a pretty bad defense. This season Kinkaid has played 33 games and has improved quite a bit behind roughly the same defensive corps. Kinkaid has roughly the same SV%, .905 but a decreased GAA of 2.69. So, why not give Kinkaid a shot?
Many people argue that a goalie's mentality is very important. While I agree, I believe Kinkaid would gain a lot of experience by playing one NHL game, win or lose. The other consideration is fairly obvious, points are at a premium in a shortened season. This means that the Devils will most likely be safe and start Moose to give the Devils a better chance at winning, all else considered. However, part of me would really like to see Kinkaid between the pipes, what do you think?