California Road Trip Proves New Jersey Devils Are Mishandling Nico Daws

The New Jersey Devils dropped two of their three games in California. Nico Daws started in all three of those matchups. The organization isn't developing him correctly.
Nico Daws (New Jersey Devils #50)
Nico Daws (New Jersey Devils #50) / Thearon W. Henderson/GettyImages

Nico Daws started in all three New Jersey Devils games during the California road trip. While he had a solid showing against the San Jose Sharks, the previous two matchups were not his best outings. Between the Kings and Ducks, he saw 27 shots and only made 19 saves. Both times, Akira Schmid had to come in relief to shake things up. Lindy Ruff explained postgame as to why management entrusted Daws to start against the Kings.

"We talked about it as a staff. We talked about it with our goalie coach [Dave Rogalski]...You can always second guess that, but it was the decision we made as a group. "

Lindy Ruff

The decision was a bit of a head-scratcher due to Daws' underwhelming performance in Anaheim. Unfortunately, Daws was doomed from the start as his bad luck carried over from the previous game. In the first period, he allowed two goals on 0.43 expected goals at all strengths. It worth mentinioning that Schmid didn't allow a goal in both games that he subbed in for, which makes Ruff's decision even more questionable. While Daws was a bright spot for the Devils a few weeks ago, it seems as though his momentum has died out. It's not entirely his fault.

Despite having season-ending hip surgery last year, the Devils started him in seven consecutive games at one point. Clearly, the organization hasn't learned its lesson from the Cory Schneider and Mackenzie Blackwood examples: overworking goalies and potentially derailing their careers due to injury. Despite his recent stretch of games, Daws still has a bright future, but the Devils can't place all of their trust solely on his shoulders.

According to MoneyPuck, the Devils only have 15.8% chance of making the playoffs. The trade deadline is almost here, and the odds of the Devils landing a big-time goalie like Jacob Markstrom, John Gibson, or Juuse Saros is highly unlikely. The best thing they can do is evenly split the reps between Daws and Schmid until Vitek Vanecek returns from injury. So that way Daws can correctly develop and the organization can re-address the goalie situation come the offseason.