3. Goaltending Can’t Be Worse
This isn’t the best argument, but it’s pretty true. This isn’t the situation from two years ago, where injuries and ineffectiveness had the team swirling down the drain. Vitek Vanecek and Akira Schmid started with a lack of confidence in the defense, and now they are in their head. It’s very clear. Vanecek has been completely out of position on many save attempts, including the game winner against the New York Rangers.
The Devils need goalies with better rebound control and better positioning. Only two goalies (Alexandar Georgiev and Elvis Merzlikins) have a worse goals saved above average than Vanecek. Stuart Skinner and Filip Gustavsson are both in the same conversation in terms of stats. Those are all decent goalies; at least, they were last season. One would say this is just a bad month, which happens with average to above-average goalies.
The Devils did not go after the superstars at the position in the offseason. Now, almost all of them are not available. So, it sounds like the deal right now is Vanecek and Schmid have to be better. Schmid hasn’t played enough, so we hope to see that changing. The Devils need goalies to succeed this season. They at least need it to be average. Can this pair do that? One would assume it only gets better from here since it can’t get worse.