The New Jersey Devils are looking to seriously upgrade the goaltender position this offseason. They definitely want to upgrade at least one of their goalies, but there’s a possibility that Tom Fitzgerald will go after two brand new goalies this offseason. Mackenzie Blackwood was once considered an important part of the core, but that’s not necessarily the case anymore.
Let’s say the Devils have another option for starting goalie. They could keep Blackwood in net or sign and trade for another option this offseason. Either way, the Devils need a backup goalie. Jonathan Bernier is rehabbing a hip injury, and it will be very unlikely he’s ready to start next season. He was pretty good to start the season before the hip injury became a serious problem. Now, the Devils have to decide how long they will go with Bernier. No matter what, the Devils have to find a second option in net. Luckily got them, there are some options that will come free of charge this offseason.
1. Casey DeSmith
The Pittsburgh Penguins were so close to taking out the New York Rangers before their surprise run to the Eastern Conference Final. Luckily for us, the Rangers couldn’t get past the Tampa Bay Lightning. However, if the Penguins just had Casey DeSmith, it might have ended in the first round.
DeSmith stopped 51 shots in his first game against the Rangers, but he got injured in overtime, and Louis Domingue had to take over. As a backup with the Penguins, DeSmith has great numbers. He’s never had a save percentage lower than .910 in four years as a professional. He is over that threshold age of 30, but he doesn’t have the same wear and tear as other goalies. He is a backup by trade, and he’s coming off a season where he started 26 games and really only had four bad starts (save percentage below .850).
The Devils would be lucky to get DeSmith as the backup. He has a lot left to give in the NHL. This would be especially true if the Devils want to allow Bernier to rehab. Having a three-headed goalie monster in Blackwood-DeSmith-Bernier would give them multiple options to make sure they have a good goalie by the end of the season.