Keith Kinkaid doesn’t know where he’ll play next season, let alone when, or if, he’ll ever play for the Blue Jackets as they carry three goalies.
But the Farmingville native knows he can’t worry about the bigger picture.
“I’m just trying to work day by day, I can’t think about too many things ahead,” said Kinkaid, an impending unrestricted free agent acquired from the Devils for a fifth-round pick in 2022 at the NHL trade deadline on Feb. 25. “Anything can happen and what is meant to be will be. It’s just a new experience for me. I’m trying to take it all in.”
Kinkaid, concluding a two-year, $2.5-million deal, was a healthy scratch for Monday night’s 2-0 loss to the Islanders at NYCB Live’s Nassau Coliseum as Joonas Korpisalo backed up Sergei Bobrovsky. The same was true on Tuesday night as the Blue Jackets hosted the Bruins, making it all nine games since the trade that Kinkaid has not appeared in a game for Columbus.
“They just said they were going to carry three goalies,” said Kinkaid, an undrafted free agent out of Union who played 151 games for the Devils since 2013. “I just have to be a good teammate and a hard worker. They wanted insurance. It’s good to see a different team and how things are run.”
Kinkaid went 15-18-6 with a 3.36 goals-against average and an .891 save percentage for the injury-plagued Devils. But last season, as the Devils reached the playoffs for the first time since 2012, Kinkaid was 26-10-3 with a 2.77 GAA and .913 save percentage, assuming the starter’s job the second half of the season and into the postseason with Cory Schneider injured.
Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella said he doesn’t believe he must get Kinkaid work to keep him sharp just in case Bobrovsky — also an impending UFA — or Korpisalo are injured.
“It’s a unique situation having three,” Tortorella said. “He’s been a great teammate. He’s handled himself really well. I don’t have a road map as far as what we’re doing with him. But I’m not throwing away Korpisalo as far as a guy that plays if Bob doesn’t play because Korpi has given us some really good games this year.”