The New Jersey Devils have signed depth goaltender Scott Wedgewood to a one-year, two-way contract for 2021-22. The deal will carry an NHL salary of $825K, while paying the veteran netminder $375K in the minor leagues.
Not only does this give the Devils a capable third-string option for next season, but it also takes care of an expansion requirement. If the team wants to protect Mackenzie Blackwood from Seattle, they needed to have at least one more goaltender under contract for next season, or at least extend a qualifying offer to Evan Cormier. Now, with Wedgewood signed, they can leave him exposed to fulfill that goaltending requirement.
Of course, the 28-year-old Wedgewood is more than just expansion draft fodder. Selected 84th overall by the Devils in 2010, he has been a capable minor league netminder for many years. This season, he ended up being needed for 16 NHL games, where he posted a .900 save percentage despite a 3-8-3 record.
Those aren’t numbers you’d want to be penciling into the net every day, but they’re certainly not anything to complain about from your third or fourth-string option. Wedgewood will almost certainly not be the full-time backup for Blackwood next year, though that spot is not yet filled.
If the team does decide to try and stash him in Utica, he will need to clear waivers again. The extra bit of NHL money—league minimum is $750K next season—could actually be a tactic to try and avoid a claim, since the acquiring team would be required to keep him on the roster.