Nico Daws Proves He's New Jersey Devils’ Starting Goalie Moving Forward

Nico Daws' confident performances gives the New Jersey Devils stability in net as they try to fight their way back into a playoff position.

New Jersey Devils goaltender Nico Daws (50) makes a save
New Jersey Devils goaltender Nico Daws (50) makes a save / Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Since coming off the Injured Reserve in December and being called up to the NHL, Nico Daws has worked his way to being the New Jersey Devils’ best goalie option. Despite ups and downs in January, Daws’ calmness and confidence showed that he was on the right track. 

Vitek Vanecek’s recent injury thrust Daws into an opportunity. Starting four games in one week is a tall order for a rookie goaltender, especially when a team with high expectations is out of a playoff position and fighting to get back in it. The Devils called upon Daws, and he met the moment head-on. The Devils have found their answer at the goaltending position, at least for now.

Daws bounced back from three starts in a row with a sub .900 SV%. He went 3-1 last week, with his save percentage over .930% in all four games. All week, he provided the Devils the reliable goaltending they’ve struggled to find this year. Even in Thursday night’s loss to the Los Angeles Kings, Daws only allowed two goals on 29 shots and gave his team a chance to win. He allowed just eight goals in four games. Daws improved to a .912 SV% and 2.93 GAA for the season.

In his fourth start last week, Daws was steady in the Stadium Series, where over 70,000 fans watched New Jersey take down the Philadelphia Flyers. Daws made 45 saves, the most saves by an NHL goalie in an outdoor game. The Flyers had a lot of chances, but he continually turned them away. 

Daws became just the third rookie goalie to earn a win at an outdoor game. It was the Devils’ first outdoor win in franchise history. The big Stadium Series win pulled the Devils five points behind the Flyers in the Metropolitan Division and kept them two points back from the Detroit Red Wings in the Eastern Conference Wild Card race.

The Devils are still poking around the trade market for a goalie. But Daws has earned the starting role for now. Considering he’s only 23, there’s still room to grow. If the Devils do make a trade before the deadline, Daws would be their number two down the stretch. With the way he’s played, he’s shown that perhaps the Devils can wait until the offseason to make a move to avoid a bad trade. 

As the Devils continue to push for a playoff berth, consistent goaltending is critical. Nico Daws is thriving under the pressure.