New Jersey Devils: 5 Goals To Achieve For Rest Of Season

New Jersey Devils defenseman Dougie Hamilton (7),: James Carey Lauder-USA TODAY Sports
New Jersey Devils defenseman Dougie Hamilton (7),: James Carey Lauder-USA TODAY Sports /
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New Jersey Devils
New Jersey Devils goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood (29): Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports /

Get Mackenzie Blackwood Right

Once again, the New Jersey Devils have questions in net. Since Martin Brodeur retired, which we officially recognize as happening in 2014, the Devils have had questions with at least one of their goalies. When Cory Schneider was on, his backup seemed to struggle. When Keith Kinkaid was on, Schneider was a mess. Schneider started to get healthy, and the Devils couldn’t find him the right backup. Then, Schneider got hurt again when Mackenzie Blackwood started getting hot. The Devils have tried for two straight offseasons to get Blackwood a really good backup, but Corey Crawford retired and Jonathan Bernier is had season-ending surgery.

The Bernier injury wouldn’t hurt so bad if Blackwood was having his best season. He hurt his heel in the offseason, and he hasn’t ever really fully recovered. He’s made some terrible mistakes in net that almost cost them games. Yet, at the same time, he’s made some impossible saves. He is all or nothing in net.

Mackenzie Blackwood is third-worst in the league at goals saved above average at 5v5. He’s actually the 12th-best in the league when it comes to goals saved above average on the penalty kill, but his ability at even strength is losing the Devils games.

The Devils need to get Blackwood right. Losing Bernier is a problem, and the fact it’s a hip injury is even worse. However, Bernier was never carrying the Devils to the playoffs. He might help, but a bad Blackwood makes it impossible to achieve this team’s goals. He needs to get back to where he was when he was at his best, injury or not.