New Jersey Devils: Scott Wedgewood Makes Backup Goalie Decision Much Harder

New Jersey Devils goaltender Scott Wedgewood (41): (Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports)
New Jersey Devils goaltender Scott Wedgewood (41): (Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports) /

Scott Wedgewood pitched a shutout in his second game taking over for Mackenzie Blackwood. That makes things awkward for Aaron Dell and Eric Comrie.

The New Jersey Devils were gutted by the news that Corey Crawford was retiring less than a week before the new season started. It looked like Mackenzie Blackwood would have to play almost every single game. Then, the worst-case scenario happened. Just an hour before Thursday’s game, reports came out that Blackwood was going on the COVID-19 protocol list, meaning he’s going to miss at least a few games.

Luckily for the Devils, they signed veteran Scott Wedgewood in the offseason to be an extra body in the room. The coaching staff has said all through training camp that he looked really good. Most believed that was just coach speak trying to deal with a bad situation with Crawford’s retirement, but it seems like they were on to something.

Wedgewood was fine in Thursday’s start where the Devils let him out to dry. On Thursday against the New York Islanders, the Devils gave up 16 high-danger chances. They only got two themselves. Wedgewood gave up four goals, but the Devils never really had a chance to do anything.

Scott Wedgewood put the New Jersey Devils on his back and beat the Islanders on Saturday night.

Then, on Sunday night, Wedgewood got the start again. Not many Devils fans expected much after Thursday’s debacle, but the Devils came to play. Wedgewood especially.

He stopped all 28 Islanders shots. There were some epic saves in there, including this one on Jordan Eberle:

That’s a grown man save right there. Wedgewood could have easily let up three or four goals, which would have led to a Devils’ loss. Instead, he put the team on his back, and he won the game.

The Devils were much better in front of him. Pavel Zacha scored a huge goal off the stick of Nikita Gusev, and Jack Hughes continued his big sophomore season by breaking the scoreless tie in the first period. The rest of the game wasn’t too crazy, but the Devils held on to win. They only allowed nine high-danger chances in this one, and a lot of them didn’t look like they did on Thursday.

Now, the Devils have to figure out what to do with Eric Comrie and Aaron Dell, who they’ve claimed off waivers. For now, Comrie is playing backup to Wedgewood. That’s going to work for now. Dell still hasn’t even gone on the COVID-19 protocol list. Once he does, it’s going to take a minimum of a week to get on the team. So, the Devils have time. However, there’s no way the Devils can put Wedgewood on waivers if he continues to play like this.

Once Blackwood comes back, this will be a largely minor issue. He’s still going to take a majority of the starts this season. However, if Wedgewood can be competent behind Blackwood, then that’s a huge deal. It’s probably going to lead to Dell and Comrie going back on waivers, and likely getting picked up by other teams, but the Devils needed to take as many shots with its backup position as possible.