Could Isaac Poulter be an Answer in Goal for New Jersey Devils?

With questions continuing to surround the New Jersey Devils goalies, could recent call-up, Isaac Poulter, be a potential solution?
New Jersey Devils 2023 Development Camp
New Jersey Devils 2023 Development Camp / Rich Graessle/GettyImages
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It must be a whirlwind past few days for recently called-up goalie Isaac Poulter. The ink has barely dried on the 22-year-old's first professional contract, yet he has joined the big club.

Poulter has spent the last year and a half on a minor league contract after signing from Swift Current of the WHL, bouncing between the AHL and ECHL. In 13 AHL games last season, Poulter put up a 3.62 GAA and a 0.883 SV%. During his time in the ECHL, he found more success, recording a 2.93 GAA and a 0.910 SV%.

In 2023-24, Poulter bounced back nicely in the AHL after beating out rookie goalie Tyler Brennan for a spot. So far, in 24 games for the Utica Comets, Poulter has put up a solid 2.70 GAA and a 0.908 SV%. With the yo-yo-ing of multiple goalies this year, Poulter has had the chance to take the starting spot and run with it.

His strong play as Utica's new number one earned him his first professional contract on February 15. Six days later, Poulter found himself on the first bus to New Jersey and is now slated to be Nico Daws's backup in the absence of Akira Schmid.

The Devils struggles in goal have been well documented. Poulter would make it the fourth goalie the Devils would have used this season. And with all the inconsistencies in net, the "throw it on the wall and see what sticks" strategy isn't the worst thing. Schmid showed flashes last season. Daws has shown flashes this season and in recent weeks in particular. Who's not to say Poulter can't be the next man up?

Poulter's rise to the NHL is not too dissimilar to a former goalie in the Devils organization and current Stanley Cup champion, Logan Thompson. Thompson signed with the then Binghamton Devils of the AHL after finishing up in the WHL. He spent a full season with the Adirondack Thunder in the ECHL before signing with the South Carolina Stingrays, the Washington Capitals ECHL affiliate. Two years later, Thompson found himself playing meaningful games for the Vegas Golden Knights and has now carved out a role as a starting-caliber goalie in the NHL. With the struggles in net this season, the Devils surely wouldn't mind having Logan Thompson in goal right now.

This is not to say that Poulter will end up as the next Logan Thompson and become a key player in a Stanley Cup-winning team. However, with the current state of Devils goaltending, it would be wise to give anyone and everyone a chance to prove themselves. It took Thompson two years removed from the ECHL to make his NHL debut. Who's not to say that Poulter can't have a similar path to the NHL?

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