The New Jersey Devils gave up two goalies who could have saved them

Are the New Jersey Devils one goalie away from being a playoff team? Who knows, but it wouldn’t have hurt if they got the league goalie average. Before the start of the season, we all agreed that the Devils needed a combined .910 save percentage between Mackenzie Blackwood and Jonathan Bernier.

Instead, they used a total of seven goaltenders throughout the season, a franchise record. Between the seven of them, they had a .882 save percentage, 2nd worst in the league.

According to J Fresh, The Devils goaltenders allowed 41.3 more goals than expected, the worst mark in the NHL.

You’re probably sick of hearing about the horrible Devils goaltender. You watch the games, then you have suffered enough. But let’s pour some more salt into the wound and learn about the self-inflicted wounds made by the Devils front office along the way.

Obviously, it’s not Tom Fitzgerald’s fault that the two veteran goaltenders he signed in back-to-back offseasons didn’t work. However, it’s Fitzgerald’s fault for choosing to waive both Scott Wedgewood and Eric Comrie.

What did the two do?

We’ll start first with Comrie, who started with the Devils last year and posted a win. He did his job. He saved 30/33 shots, posted a .909 save percentage, and saved every shot he was supposed to make.

Shortly after, the Devils decided to waive Comrie to make way for Devils legend Aaron Dell. In his time with the Devils, Dell went 1-5 and recorded an abysmal .857 save percentage. Those would be the only games Dell would wear in a red and black jersey as he moved to Buffalo this offseason.

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As for Comrie, he was selected by the Winnipeg Jets last season and won the backup job for Connor Hellebuyck this season. In the process, Comrie posted eight wins in the 12 games he started. One of those wins, of course, comes from a stellar performance against the Devils. In that game, he saved 33/34 shots which was good for a .971 save percentage.

Overall, he posted solid numbers in front of a dodgy Jets blue line. His .912 save percentage would be the best among the seven goaltenders the Devils have to offer.

Already seen

Comrie’s situation was unfortunate, but at least Fitzgerald learned not to give up on goaltenders anymore, right? Well, wrong. And this time, it ended up being worse than the last.

In early November, the Devils decided to waive goaltender Scott Wedgewood in order to activate Mackenzie Blackwood from IR. At the time, the move was nondescript. Wedgewood is a 29-year-old goalkeeper who, when playing, looks like Andrei Vasilevskiy. When his positioning is off, which is most of the time, he’s an AHL-caliber goaltender.

In Fitzgerald’s mind, there was no need to carry three goalies. Still, he should have known better, considering all the trends the Devils went through last season. Plus, when you have a guy like Mason Geertsen on your roster, who will finish the season with 0 points and 77 penalty minutes in 24 games, it would have made sense to forgo the least useful option.

However, Fitzgerald didn’t see it that way and got rid of Wedgewood. Since then, he’s not only been helpful to both teams he’s played on, but since being traded to the Dallas Stars, he’s been one of the best goaltenders in the league.

Since early February, Wedgewood has the 3rd best goal recorded above expectation and the 5th best save percentage. Even when he was at Arizona, he posted a .911 save percentage and managed to win ten games with the team.

You know for a fact that Fitzgerald is kicking himself because the Devils have been looking everywhere for capable goaltenders, but they didn’t know it was on their roster all the time.

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