Blackwood signs three-year, $8.4 million contract with Devils

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Mackenzie Blackwood signed a three-year, $8.4 million contract with the New Jersey Devils on Wednesday. It has an average annual value of $2.8 million.

The 23-year-old goalie, who was a restricted free agent, led NHL rookies in wins last season, going 22-14-8 with a 2.77 goals-against average, .915 save percentage and three shutouts in 47 games (43 starts) with the Devils.

“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. “He’s obviously shown that he can be a No. 1 goalie, and the sky’s the limit for him.”

Selected by New Jersey in the second round (No. 42) of the 2015 NHL Draft, Blackwood is 32-24-8 with a 2.72 GAA, .916 save percentage and five shutouts in NHL 70 games (64 starts).

“I don’t really know exactly how it’s all going to transpire, but whatever it is, I like [New] Jersey,” Blackwood said in May. “I love playing here, and I’d love to play here for a long time.”

Blackwood will split time in goal with 35-year-old Corey Crawford, who agreed to a two-year contract Oct. 9, one day after the Devils placed goalie Cory Schneider on unconditional waivers for the purpose of a buyout. Crawford went 16-20-3 last season with a 917 save percentage and one shutout.

Crawford joined the Devils after 13 seasons and two Stanley Cup championships (2013, 2015) with the Chicago Blackhawks. But he hasn’t played more than 40 games in any of the past three seasons and missed time in 2017-18 and 2018-19 because of concussions.

“The goaltending situation has kind of been an albatross for us and weighed on us heavily, so it was the first thing we were looking to address (in the offseason),” Devils assistant general manager Dan MacKinnon said. “You have to give a ton of credit to (executive vice president of hockey operations) Martin Brodeur. Marty’s relationship with Corey weighed heavily into it, and the opportunity for [Crawford] to do something really meaningful here in kind of a tandem role with Blackwood appealed to him.”

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