New Jersey Devils: One Positional Need That Must Be Addressed This Summer

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY - JANUARY 14: Mackenzie Blackwood #29 of the New Jersey Devils stops a shot as Brad Marchand #63 of the Boston Bruins passes in the first period during the home opening game at Prudential Center on January 14, 2021 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
NEWARK, NEW JERSEY - JANUARY 14: Mackenzie Blackwood #29 of the New Jersey Devils stops a shot as Brad Marchand #63 of the Boston Bruins passes in the first period during the home opening game at Prudential Center on January 14, 2021 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /
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The New Jersey Devils had Martin Brodeur in the crease for the glory years of the franchise’s history. He is now known as the greatest goaltender in the history of the sport. They transitioned to Cory Schneider after Martin Brodeur retired and he was elite for a few years as well. Injuries and inconsistencies led to his departure which caused them to turn to the youngster. Mackenzie Blackwood looks like someone who could be a number one.

The New Jersey Devils would love to add some help to the goal crease this summer.

Blackwood has a lot of work to do in terms of his development but he has shown flashes of being an elite goalie. He wasn’t as good when the team came back from the long COVID-19 pause that they had in the middle of the already short season in 2021. It is a little bit alarming but it also makes sense.

One thing that has been an issue for a couple of years now is the fact that he doesn’t have another goalie to play with. Whenever he doesn’t start, they play someone who should not be playing NHL games as a goalie. That has caused them to be an even worse team than they already are. They don’t play great in front of whatever goalie but they need more from a backup anyway.

This job was supposed to belong to Corey Crawford before he randomly retired right before the 2020-21 season started. Blackwood and Crawford were going to split time before he left the team for good which left them out to dry. Nobody blames Crawford because his life and happiness are most important but the Devils didn’t get good goaltending unless Blackwood was in the net.

We don’t know if having another really good goalie will directly improve their spot in the standings right away but it certainly wouldn’t hurt. Players like Aaron Dell, Scott Wedgewood, and Evan Cormier getting starts is not ideal for this team right now.

There are some free agent goalies that they can go for this year to take some pressure off Blackwood. Guys like Jaroslav Halak, Pekka Rinne, Freddy Andersen, and Antti Raanta are a few examples of pretty good goalies that could come in and help out.

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We assume that the team in front of the goalies is going to be a little bit better by the addition of better players and more development/experience from the really young players. This roster has players with bright futures so 2021-22 is a tough year to predict for them. Hopefully, either way, the duo is capable of giving the New Jersey Devils a chance to win.