5 Questions New Jersey Devils Must Answer This Season

Jack Hughes #86 of the New Jersey Devils (Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images)
Jack Hughes #86 of the New Jersey Devils (Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images) /
4 of 6
New Jersey Devils
Mackenzie Blackwood #29 of the New Jersey Devils. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

Can Mackenzie Blackwood Carry The Team Alone?

The New Jersey Devils were hoping a tandem of Mackenzie Blackwood and Corey Crawford would be enough to make them competitive in the East Division. There are very good opponents on a nightly basis, so good goaltending is a must. They play in a division with Artemi Panarin, Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin, David Pastrnak, Mat Barzal, and a plethora of other offensive stars. For the Devils to compete, they need to at least stop the puck from going in the net.

Things changed a lot when Crawford announced his retirement this past weekend. So, the Devils have Scott Wedgewood and newly acquired Eric Comrie to fight for the backup job. Either way, the Devils need to rely on Blackwood to play at least 80% of the time.

Last season, Blackwood was terrible to start the year. He posted a .871 save percentage and lost four of his six games (although one of them he came in relief and watched a four-goal lead disappear). He needs to avoid that kind of start with the Devils missing Hischier, Jesper Bratt, and Sami Vatanen for the first part of the season.

If the Devils are going anywhere, they need Blackwood to play like one of the best goalies in the league. He’s shown in the past that he can play to those standards, but he needs to do it consistently.