The San Jose Sharks signed pending RFA goalie Mackenzie Blackwood to a new contract today. This avoided allowing the goaltender to reach the free-agent market. The deal comes in at $2.5 million annually over two years, for a total of $5 million.
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) July 1, 2023
Mackenzie Blackwood Contract Signed with San Jose Sharks
A former second-round pick from the 2015 draft, Blackwood played solely with the New Jersey Devils to date. A few days ago, the Devils moved his negotiating rights to the Sharks in exchange for a sixth-round pick. The Sharks moved quickly enough to keep him from hitting free agency, getting a contract done with Blackwood first thing Saturday morning.
In 22 games last season, Blackwood went 10-6-2 with a .893 save percentage and 3.20 goals against average. That games played number ranks as the lowest out of his five-year stint in New Jersey, partially due to injury but also poor performance. He struggled, even more, the year prior, with weaker statistics and a losing record overall.
What this Means for the Future
For his career thus far, Blackwood boasts a 65-57-18 with a .906 save percentage and 2.97 goals against average. Those numbers leave a lot to be desired, especially after the strong start he had in years one through three. Maybe a change of scenery helps him regain his form and play more to his potential.
That said, going to San Jose doesn’t exactly mean a better team in front of him. He leaves a Devils squad on the rise, that just went two rounds deep in the playoffs and take higher expectations into next season. The Sharks, by comparison, remain in the throngs of a rebuild, and in search for ways to unload players to make room for their own prospects. Blackwood’s contract is short enough, though, that he could wind up elsewhere before it ends.
This is a “prove yourself” opportunity for the goaltender. If Blackwood struggles, it could be his last full-time NHL opportunity before he must accept a two-way contract. If he succeeds, it could rejuvenate his career completely.
Main Photo – Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports