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Devils Sign Mackenzie Blackwood to 3-Yr Deal [Report]

According to NHL analyst Kevin Weekes: “Breaking News* (I know its late)
From what I’m told RFA Goalie Mackenzie Blackwood and the @NJDevils are close to agreeing on a 3 yr contract.” This was posted by Weekes late evening Tuesday night after a series of other free agents came off the board and signed deals. It was confirmed Wednesday morning by multiple other sources as well.

Related: Predators and Blue Jackets Become Favorites to Land UFA Mike Hoffman

A 24-year-old RFA, Blackwood was one of the few bright spots for the Devils in an otherwise disappointing 2019-20 season. It was his first year as a starting NHL goalie and he appeared in 47 games and posted a .915% save percentage. Among goalies 25 or under (minimum 20 games), this put him fourth in the NHL. Among rookies, only Elvis Merzlikins posted a better save percentage.

While Weekes didn’t provide details on the value of the contract, it is assumed the Devils see value in going with the long end of a bridge deal. Comparables put him around $2.5 -$3 million on a one-three year term but considering he was starting to work himself into the Calder Trophy conversation, it could be closer to $3 million. ** Update: Blackwood signs for three years and $2.8 million per, according to Pierre LeBrun.

Factoring in the pandemic, anything more than $3.5 million was probably an overpay despite the fact the Devils gave extremely high hopes for Blackwood. That said, it was tricky to know what the deal might look like considering the circumstances and Blackwood’s extremely impressive numbers.

A bridge deal makes sense for both sides as it allows the Devils to really see what they’ve got and it allows Blackwood to show his worth as a starter and take that value to market pretty quickly.

When Blackwood’s contract expires in 2023 he’ll be a restricted free agent with arbitration rights.

Next: Canadiens “Might Not Be Done” Making Moves Before 2020-21 Season

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