The New Jersey Devils are at a crossroads at the goaltender position. On one hand, the team desperately needs an upgrade, such as Jacob Markstrom, in order to make a true push for the postseason. On the other, the Devils can focus on developing the goalies of their future. Outside of Nico Daws and Akira Schmid, the Devils don't have much. Tomas Suchanek would give them another option.
Daws, 23, has mostly played well in his short time with the Devils this season, but is still inconsistent in some parts of his game. The same is true of the 23-year-old Schmid, who has taken a major step back this season. He has just eight wins in 27 appearances between the AHL and NHL, and has save percentages below .900 in both leagues.
Suchanek gives the Devils someone else they can potentially hang their hats on. The 20-year-old played the last two seasons with the WHL's Tri City Storm, but went undrafted in three straight NHL drafts. Suchanek then joined the San Diego Gulls, the AHL affiliates of the Anaheim Ducks, on an AHL contract.
The Czech netminder has played 23 games this season between the ECHL and the AHL. In eight ECHL games with the Tulsa Oilers, Suchanek went 3-5-0 with a 2.77 GAA and a .906 save percentage. In the AHL, though, Suchanek has been lights-out, posting an 11-2-2 record to go along with a 2.25 GAA and a .930 save percentage.
Indeed, this is only Suchanek's first season playing professional hockey in North America. He does have some pro experience, having played in Czechia2 in his teenage years. That's also Czechia's second level of competition, meaning the Devils will have to season Suchanek further if they were to sign him.
Suchanek can handle a starter's workload, too; he played in 46 games for Tri-City last season, going 27-14-3 with a 3.05 GAA and .912 save percentage. Given how dire things are for New Jersey right now, the Devils can't say no to another goalie. Especially a young, developmental one posting eye-watering numbers in the AHL.
If the Devils are serious about building this thing for the long haul, they need to get younger and better in net at all levels. Suchanek gives them a chance to do that for free.