The New Jersey Devils believe they’ve solved their goaltending issues that made itself present post-Cory Schneider. Vitek Vanecek and Akira Schmid now tend the Devils crease which was good enough to propel New Jersey to their winningest season in franchise history last year. It also brought them to the second round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs, beating the New York Rangers in seven games. As a pending restricted free agent, is a Schmid extension on the horizon with the Devils?
Sportsnet insider Elliotte Friedman speculated in Monday morning’s 32 Thoughts Podcast whether or not General Manager Tom Fitzgerald is working to extend the 23-year-old netminder.
“I’m wondering if we’re gonna see an Akira Schmid extension,” Friedman explained to Jeff Marek. “The reason I say this is because Jack Hughes is signed to an 8×8 extension. That’s gonna age to be a phenomenal contract. The player is going to make $64 million, but that’s going to age to be a great deal for the team too. Akira Schmid is in the last year of his current deal. He started Game 7 of the playoffs last year, he won it, and he’s the goalie of the future. The surest predictor of future behavior is past behavior. Schmid is not Hughes, but he’s very important to the New Jersey Devils. I thought about this today and said ‘That’s what they’re gonna do.’”
Again, it’s purely speculatory, but there’s logic in the reasoning. This isn’t the Timo Meier situation where Fitzgerald needs Schmid to get acclimated to New Jersey. Schmid is a homegrown talent, drafted and developed in the Devils system. New Jersey’s organization firmly believes they have a starting goaltender in Schmid for now and in the future. With the way Fitzgerald has been able to manage his cap in excellent fashion, the speculation isn’t far off.
However, Ryan Novozinsky of NJ.com checked in with Schmid’s agent to check the status of any potential contract negotiations.
New Jersey Hockey Now also checked in with Schmid’s agent, Allain Roy, and the message is aligned. Extension talks have not begun just yet. However, everything can change with just one phone call and an extension at this point certainly makes sense. For now, it’s wait and see, but if Schmid does extend, perhaps New Jersey’s search for goaltending is no longer.