Third goalie reportedly had Devils trade nixed, showing Tom Fitzgerald's issues were more luck than incompetence

Another rumor shows that a star goalie nixed a trade to the New Jersey Devils. This shows that Tom Fitzgerald had no chance to give Lindy Ruff and the rest of the team an upgrade.
Boston Bruins v New Jersey Devils
Boston Bruins v New Jersey Devils / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

The New Jersey Devils had awful goaltending last season. Some might even say they had the worst goaltending in the league. Vitek Vanecek turned into a pumpkin in the playoffs in 2023, and the clock stayed on midnight for a full calendar year. Akira Schmid couldn't save them this time. Neither could Nico Daws. Jake Allen came too late (more on that in a minute), as did Kaapo Kahkonen. The Devils tried to get depth in Keith Kinkaid and Erik Källgren in the offseason, but they were both terrible.

Now, more and more reports show Tom Fitzgerald never stopped in his attempts to get goalies. We first started hearing that he had a deal in place to get Jacob Markstrom, but the Calgary Flames owner reneged on a deal that was done. They even got Markstrom to waive his no-trade clause, but Don Maloney reportedly said no on behald of ownership.

That was the first hurdle Fitzgerald was unable to pass in his quest to upgrade the net and give this team a legit chance to make the playoffs last season.

We then learned the Devils had deals in place as early as December to get Montreal Canadiens goalie Jake Allen. Allen himself denied the trade to the Devils, keeping him on the other side of the border. He, of course, later accepted a trade to the Devils, but it was way too late.

Now, we're learning that former Vezina Trophy winner Linus Ullmark could have been heading down I-95 south on the way to the Prudential Center, but he decided to go ring shopping with the Boston Bruins (which ended up in the same place as the Devils, ultimately). Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Citizen writes that the Devils were in the mix for Ullmark when he vetoed a trade outside Boston.

This just goes to show that Tom Fitzgerald was going above and beyond to get a goalie, but the market was impossible. We don't think the Edmonton Oilers wanted goalie insurance? They couldn't get it done. How about the Toronto Maple Leafs, Sheldon Keefe's former squad, definitely could have used a goalie. They didn't get one. Carolina, Minnesota, Los Angeles, Detroit, and Philadelphia could have used a goalie as they tried their hardest to make the playoffs and compete. All of them are out now, and it's in part because of the goalie.

This was the season from hell for the Devils, and the impossible goalie market was one of the main reasons for that. Now, the Devils go into the offseason knowing that goalie is the number-one priority (now that Keefe has been hired).