New Jersey Devils: Defenseman/Goalie Report Cards At The Halfway Point

The New Jersey Devils are 22-16-3 through the first 41 games. Let's check in on how the defenseman and goalies have performed at the halfway point.

New Jersey Devils v Chicago Blackhawks
New Jersey Devils v Chicago Blackhawks / Michael Reaves/GettyImages
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Vitek Vanecek (3.31 GAA - 0.882 SV%)

Nobody has seen their stock drop more than Vitek Vanecek. After having a very solid 2022-23, Vanecek has officially become the worst goalie in the NHL. His -13.4 GSAx puts him dead last in the league. The fall off of Vanecek should be studied because it has been so drastic. He has given the Devils no chance of winning in a majority of his starts because of his inability to make saves. When Vanecek is in the net, the Devils look like a team playing with zero confidence. It turns out his poor starts in the playoffs last year still have him shell-shocked, and you wonder just how long it is until he's either sent down or bought out.

Grade: D-

Nico Daws (2.63 GAA - 0.922 SV%)

On the flip side, the Devils may have their goalie prayers answered, and his name is Nico Daws. Since being called up, Daws has been a rock in the net for the Devils, with only one subpar performance against the Vancouver Canucks. He has not only given the Devils a chance to win each night but he's stolen a game or two since his call-up. His 3.1 GSAx is a sight for sore eyes, and while the Devils wait for what feels like half the team to get healthy, he gives the team a chance every time he starts.

Grade: A

Akira Schmid (3.26 GAA - 0.893 SV%)

Akira Schmid will always be a Devils legend for what he did against the Rangers in the playoffs. But unfortunately, it hasn't transferred over to this season. The Devils entered this past offseason with the plan of adding a veteran goalie and starting Schmid in the AHL. That never panned out, and Schmid started as the 1B. And with Vanecek falling flat on his face early, a lot of responsibility rested on Schmid's shoulders. While he did give them a few solid starts and relief appearances, it wasn't enough to warrant him staying in the NHL. Schmid can still be a solution in net at the NHL level, but it's best he stays in the AHL and plays night-in and night-out.

Grade: C-

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