The New Jersey Devils had some good goaltending this season from Mackenzie Blackwood. The pause to the season might help him get even better.
The New Jersey Devils are a young team that struggled a lot in 2019-20. They had some good moments at times thanks to Nico Hischier, Jesper Bratt and Nikita Gusev. They have all had good moments but need some more development in order to really take the next step as a team. One young player who really took the next step was Mackenzie Blackwood.
Blackwood was the only Devils goalie who played well for most of the season. Cory Schneider was awful to start, and was forced to go down to the Binghamton Devils and Louis Domingue wasn’t great in Schneider’s spot. This is the type of team that needs good goaltending in order to even have a chance to win and Blackwood was the only one who gave them that.
Blackwood somehow had a record of 22-14-8 on the awful 2019-20 New Jersey Devils. The fact that he had that good of a record on this team is impressive. He also had a 2.77 goals-against average and a .915 save percentage. He added three shutouts to his totals, a very good season for a rookie netminder. He should get some votes for the Calder Trophy whenever the season comes to an official close.
The NHL is on pause right now due to the global pandemic and that might be able to help Blackwood. He was playing a lot of games for New Jersey, so getting a rest here is probably good for him. The hope is that the rest of the younger players in the organization take a big step next year, so Mackenzie Blackwood being rested and ready to go is extremely important. If they are able to make some more additions to their roster and Blackwood is the number one we know he can be, the Devils can be a good team in 2020-21.
This pause might get the National Hockey League right into the playoffs, and even if they expand it, the Devils could be on the outside looking in. That means that Blackwood can be fresh going into his summer program. He should be ready to come in and be the Devils full-time starter once training camp comes around. If there is one beam of light on this ugly season it is MacKenzie Blackwood. This season coming to an abrupt end could help him start to focus on next year’s chance of being a playoff goalie.