New Jersey Devils: 5 Players Team Can’t Afford To Get Injured

Jack Hughes #86 of the New Jersey Devils (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Jack Hughes #86 of the New Jersey Devils (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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New Jersey Devils
Vitek Vanecek #41 of the New Jersey Devils. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

Vitek Vanecek

The Devils played seven goalies last season. It is the one thing that will stand out most at the end of the year. Mackenzie Blackwood got hurt in the preseason and was never the same. Jonathan Bernier got hurt sometime in November or December, and now he might never be the same.

This season, the Devils added yet another reinforcement. They traded for former Washington Capitals goalie Vitek Vanecek. He joins both Bernier and Blackwood who are still here. Bernier is likely going to start the season on LTIR. Blackwood looks like he has a chance to bounce back. However, Vanecek appears to be the one who can take the Devils to new heights.

Many are waiting for Blackwood to get injured. It seems to happen every year. However, if Vanecek gets injured before Bernier is ready to return, this forces the Devils to put too much pressure on Blackwood. This coaching staff has shown they will ride the hot hand and ignore the future ramifications. If Vanecek gets hurt, then the team will ride Blackwood. This could push him too far like it has times before and it could push him into another injury.

Vanecek is the new guy in town, and it might seem weird for the team’s supposed backup to be this important, but the Devils have seen too much go wrong at the goaltender position. They need this year to be different.