New Jersey Devils Call Up Nico Daws: What Does It Mean?

The New Jersey Devils surprisingly called up goalie prospect Nico Daws. Is there more than meets the eye here, or is the simplest explanation also the most likely one?

New Jersey Devils v Seattle Kraken
New Jersey Devils v Seattle Kraken / Steph Chambers/GettyImages

The New Jersey Devils made a surprising decision as they returned from Christmas break when they called up Nico Daws. The goalie is expected to take over starting duties with the Utica Comets, but the organization is playing it safe after he dealt with a hip injury in the offseason that required surgery. Now, he's back and healthy, but the team is still playing it safe.

That's why Wednesday's announcement from the Devils came out of nowhere.

The Devils haven't made any other corresponding moves on the NHL level. They could do this because they were riding with 22 players on the roster. Daws makes 23, and the Devils will go into Wednesday night's matchup with the Columbus Blue Jackets with three goalies. Only two will be active, but which two is a major question.

A response from Lindy Ruff made it seem like Daws could be active for this game, meaning one of Akira Schmid or Vitek Vanecek would not be active.

Obviously, to get reps against NHL shooters means we should expect Daws to get into a game. However, it could be as simple as the Devils hoping he gets reps in practice. We will learn more once we see the lineups on Wednesday night.

It does make sense when looking at the Comets schedule. They are heading to Lehigh Valley. With it being an away game and the Devils playing a home game, one could argue it would be easier on Daws. Utica plays two home games this weekend, so we'll see if Daws goes back before the end of Thursday.

There are a lot of unanswered questions here. Is this Daws callup possibly permanent? Could Akira Schmid go down to Utica to get more starter's reps and build back his confidence? The next few days mean a lot to the Devils goaltending future. Heck, it could mean a trade is on the horizon. We imagine the players themselves are just as much in the dark thanks to the NHL Roster Freeze that continues through midnight on Thursday morning.

For right now, the move is exactly what Lindy Ruff said. This is to get Daws some reps against NHL talent. Whether that is just to get him ready for a future call up, a more substantial role in the big leagues, or even a trade to another team, there's no way of knowing that right now.

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