Devils GM Is ‘Trying to Sign’ Infamous Rangers Brawl Instigator

Kurtis MacDermid of the New Jersey Devils

Getty Kurtis MacDermid #23 of the New Jersey Devils

As the New Jersey Devils‘ regular season draws to a disappointing close, General Manager Tom Fitzgerald appeared on MSG Network’s pregame show before their April 15 matchup against the New York Islanders and revealed his plans for the offseason.

Simply put, Fitzgerald made clear to MSG Network’s hosts Erika Wachter and Bryce Salvador that he is already trying to bring the official enforcer of the Devils, Kurtis MacDermid, back to the team next season.

“I’m trying to re-sign Kurtis MacDermid right now,” Fitzgerald stated on April 15. “I think he’s been a huge part of our group and has made these kids and any player a lot more comfortable on the ice. That’s part of hockey.”

This season, MacDermid has played 44 games, contributing 2 goals and 1 assist, and amassing 50 penalty minutes, including five fighting majors.

It’s fair to say that MacDermid’s value has come from protecting the likes of Jack Hughes and Nico Hischier at least from a mental angle as the youngsters have been freed from having to play with a constant threat of absorbing heavy hits from the opposition.

Devils Acquired Kurtis MacDermid in a Mid-Season Trade

Fitzgerald was probably referring to MacDermid’s main skills while on the ice when he made his statement, those skills being hitting opposing players and instilling fear in them, more than actual point-scoring production.

“Building around that core that we have with characteristics that can help our team moving forward,” Fitzgerald said without mentioning any of the words that define MacDervid.

Reading between the lines, however, it isn’t difficult to conclude what the GM is talking about when discussing what MacDervides provides to the Devils.

The Devils acquired MacDermid from the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for a seventh-round pick in the 2024 NHL draft and forward Zakhar Bardakov. The timing of the trade is the most interesting part of the transaction.

MacDermid was acquired on March 1. Coincidentally (or not), New York Rangers rookie forward Matt Rempe got his first career ejection from an offense committed against the Devils on February 22. Back then, Rempe delivered a hit that caught Devils’ Nathan Bastian up high.

Did the Devils Acquire MacDermid Only to Fight Rangers’ Matt Rempe?

Just 10 days after getting traded to the Devils, MacDervid and the New Jersey played the Rangers on March 11. Rempe was ejected for the second time in his career on that game after elbowing Devils defenseman Jonas Siegenthaler in a 3-1 Rangers win, as documented by Heavy’s Emma Lingan.

“MacDermid, who had already challenged Rempe to a fight early in the first period, dropped his gloves and tried to challenge him again after the hit on Siegenthaler, but the two were separated by officials,” Lingan reported. “MacDermid received a 10-minute misconduct for attempting to instigate the fight; Rempe waved at him.”

Then, on April 3, true chaos ensued in a line brawl between the Devils and the Rangers that ended with eight players getting ejected just two seconds into the game with all 10 getting into fights right after the puck drop.

MacDermid and Rempe starred in that line brawl at Madison Square Garden, but Rempe is not the only enforcer MacDermid has had to deal with this season.

The Devils, part of the Metropolitan Division, also play against the likes of Philadelphia Flyers’ enforcer Nicolas Deslauriers and the Columbus Blue Jackets Mathieu Olivier, who are both more experienced than Rempe at fighting and battling.

MacDermid, 30, is currently in the final year of his two-year, $1.975 million contract, per PuckPedia, and has an estimated career earnings of $7.460 million earned since he made his NHL debut in the 2018 season.

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