What should the Devils do about the goaltending situation?
Villano: This comes down to what the Devils should do with Mackenzie Blackwood. If he really is unhappy with the franchise and everyone needs a change of scenery, then the Devils should go all in on getting a netminder. Does that mean spending big on a Kuemper-Holtby combination? Nope. Trade for Carey Price. It could actually work.
Rice: If they can’t find a way to steal John Gibson, Binnington, or even Ulmark, then have to try to get a vet like Holtby, Khudobin, Fleury to stabilize. They cannot go into next season with a Blackwood-Bernier tandem and Schmid-Daws as the next men up.
Parise: I would bring Mackenzie Blackwood in along with another player to be his backup in case of injury/bad play. Bernier could be that guy if healthy but I’m not convinced.
Garrison: If the Devils want to fix the goaltending, they should keep Blackwood for one more year. I still see Blackwood as a good goalie; even with the injuries, he can play well, maybe with a new year. As for Bernier, they should release him and go after a guy like Vitek Vanecek, who is still young and has good enough stats for a backup.
Borges: There are plenty of things the Devils could do, but I’m a firm believer in Blackwood. Vaccine status/political beliefs aside, he was the future a year ago and he should still be the future. But Darcy Kuemper would be okay.
DeLuca: Mackenzie Blackwood needs to be pushed to his absolute max potential next season. They need to bring in a goalie capable of doing this such as Alexander Georgiev or Semeon Varlamov to name a couple. There are many more. Jonathan Bernier may have had his career come to an end due to his injuries, I hope I am wrong about that.
Holiday: This is the toughest call because the Devils have so many and so few options. They are locked in with Bernier and Blackwood. Tom Fitzgerald has done a great job getting stuff done, but a possible career-ending injury and a retirement in back-to-back years is rough. The Devils should go big after Ville Husso first and Darcy Kuemper second. The Devils could easily tempt Husso with an offer of $5+ million a year for 2-3 years. This would be incredibly risky, but he has looked amazing this year and at times has stolen the starter spot. He is 27 years old and before this season had under 20 games played. Goalies can take time, but this is his prime and we have seen goalies fall apart at 30 many times.
Goldstein: Spend. Obviously, the Devils have a lot of depth at the goaltender position. They have some young guys with potential in Akira Schmid and Nico Daws as well as veterans like Mackenzie Blackwood and Jonathan Bernier. While the depth is there, the reality is the Devils need to spend. Whether it’s Vanecek, Kuemper, or anyone else, NJD needs to add a proven winner to the roster to be a competitive team in the Metro next season.
Fleming: I still want to see a healthy Blackwood. However, I also want competent goaltending, and doing a Blackwood/Bernier tandem may not give us the results we want. There are a lot of question marks on the two, and the Devils’ best bet may be trading for a proven goaltender like John Gibson. His last three years haven’t been Gibson caliber, but the Ducks could be looking to trade him and it may not hurt to try him out.
Woo: This decision will make or break Tom Fitzgerald’s legacy as Devils GM. I believe Nico Daws is the future but believe he still needs time in Utica. I consider Bernier to be out of the picture and the Devils would be lucky if they could trade him (or his contract). Mackenzie Blackwood does deserve one more chance but has to prove he can be consistent and healthy. I think he should find a trade to get the right goaltender. One that can have an immediate impact for the one or two years as a bridge to Daws. Maybe three times the charm for Fitzy?