New Jersey Devils Recent Struggles Show Mackenzie Blackwood Isn’t The Problem

New Jersey Devils goaltender Aaron Dell (47): (Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)
New Jersey Devils goaltender Aaron Dell (47): (Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports) /

It’s crazy that we have to say this, but Mackenzie Blackwood is in no way shape, or form the reason the New Jersey Devils season went of the rails. This Devils season is so many people’s faults it’s not worth listing right now. However, Blackwood’s struggles aren’t the main reason. It’s probably not even in the top five.

When Corey Crawford decided he’d rather not play hockey than play for the Devils, the team was stuck with Scott Wedgewood as the only other goalie on the main roster. They had Evan Cormier and Gilles Senn in the minors, but they had to at least add someone because all teams with an AHL team need five goalies this season (thanks to the taxi squad requirements). So, the Devils signed Jeremy Brodeur to be an extra goalie.

Mackenzie Blackwood will be fine, and Scott Wedgewood and Aaron Dell are proving that.

That was never going to be the only move, so the Devils eventually made waiver claims for Aaron Dell and Eric Comrie. Both were fine at the beginning of the season, but Comrie was eventually claimed on waivers by the Winnipeg Jets. Now, Dell is just plain terrible.

Scott Wedgewood was a great goalie at the beginning of the season. It seemed like he earned himself a contract extension. However, just like Drew Stafford before him, calls for an extension quickly followed questions about why he is in the lineup. Obviously, the Devils have to play someone with Mackenzie Blackwood injured (thanks Matt Tennyson), but to get zero quality performances from Wedgewood and Dell is unacceptable.

Blackwood is getting a lot of flack this season for how he’s played, and he probably should be better, but to see the alternative shows how much worse it could be. Blackwood makes the occasional bad play, but he seems to make more good plays than bad on a normal night. Wedgewood and Dell can’t stop a beach ball right now.

The defense is still a major issue, and that only looks worse with P.K. Subban and Ty Smith out of the lineup. Damon Severson has fallen off a cliff, and Will Butcher is the best defenseman on some nights. This is a bad situation, to say the least. So, when the offseason narrative comes that Blackwood isn’t the future in net because some national writer who hasn’t done more than look at math says so, ignore them. Usually, they are on to something, but with Blackwood, the issues are so much more complicated than simple math can handle.