New Jersey Devils: Prospect of the Week – Mackenzie Blackwood

Dia Sparrow - Pucks and Pitchforks
Dia Sparrow - Pucks and Pitchforks /

A new year means a new beginning and much anticipation among the New Jersey Devils rising prospects, who will hope to finally get the call in 2016 and achieve their lifelong dream of playing in the NHL.

With the first full week of the New Year almost in the books, it is time to crown our New Jersey Devils Prospect of the Week.

Because of the World Junior Championships, it was a quiet week for the CHL and the NCAA. John Quenneville, Mackenzie Blackwood, and Pavel Zacha were all underwhelming for their respective countries in the tournament, as top 2016 draft prospect Jesse Puljujärvi and Finland topped Russia to take home the gold.

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It was also a quiet week in Albany, as the A-Devils only played in two games. They will look to continue their success this season in a busy upcoming week, in which they will play five games.

Given the inactivity this week and that there was no standout prospect at any level, the New Jersey Devils Prospect of the Week goes to Mackenzie Blackwood, who made a big stride towards his future in the NHL by signing his entry-level contract with the Devils.

Yes, the signing happened before the New Year even began, but it is important to acknowledge this big news regarding Cory Schneider‘s potential replacement in New Jersey one day.

Blackwood has been for his junior team, the Barrie Colts, this season to what Cory Schneider has been for the Devils, a difference making force in net. His play this year for Barrie has Devils fans, including the skeptics from when he was drafted, excited for the future.

Like all Devils fans, I was a skeptic of drafting a goalie in the second round, when 1) they have one of the league’s best in net right now and 2) there were plenty of quality forward prospects available at the time. However, after taking the time to sit down and actually research Blackwood, the skepticism faded.

New Jersey Devils
New Jersey Devils /

New Jersey Devils

If you pay any attention to the CHL, then you know that Mackenzie Blackwood has been dominant in net for the Barrie Colts. This season, Blackwood has gone 17-7 with a GAA of 2.43 and a save percentage of 0.930. Those number are excellent, especially when you consider the poor defensive play at the juniors level. *

Blackwood will likely receive some criticism for his underwhelming play at the World Junior Championships, but the blame is not all his. Canada as a whole played an extremely underwhelming tournament and for once the blame cannot be thrown solely on the goaltender.

The scouting reports on Blackwood indicated that he was a steal for the Devils at the 42nd pick, and that he had all the skills and intangibles to become a big, durable, capable butterfly goaltender. Fans also have to remember that by the time Blackwood is 25, Cory Schneider will be almost 36 and likely in the twilight of his career.

It is never a bad idea to have a plan for down the road and taking the time to develop a successor. The New Jersey Devils will likely do that with Blackwood by sending him back to Barrie for one more season before he goes to Albany to continue his development. The Devils will not be in any hurries to rush Blackwood to the NHL.

Next: Bruins Blow Past Devils in 4-1 Win

What do you think of our first prospect of the week for 2016? Are you excited to see Mackenzie Blackwood in a New Jersey Devils sweater in the future? Do you think that we should have given the award to someone else? Please feel free to give you thoughts in the comments section below.

*All statistics courtesy of