The New Jersey Devils have announced they have re-signed goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood to a new three-year deal worth $8.4 million. The contract carries a salary-cap hit of $2.8 million.
three years and it’s $2.8 M AAV per season for Blackwood in NJ
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) December 23, 2020
Mackenzie Blackwood Re-Signs In New Jersey
The Devils have found something in Blackwood. He came into the 2019-20 season as the backup to Cory Schneider. However, that quickly changed as Blackwood took over the starters role after the various injuries to Schneider. Even with Schneider back, the coaching staff decided to role with Blackwood in between the pipes. The Devils selected Blackwood in the second round, 42nd overall in the 2015 NHL Draft. He played in the ECHL and AHL for a time as the Devils had other goalies in the system they valued higher. However, once Blackwood was recalled during the 2018-19 season, he never went back. He piled up several accolades during his first season in the league.
Blackwood was still considered a rooking during this past season and picked up sixth place votes for the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s top rookie. Appearing in 47 games he had a 22-14-8 record with a 2.77 goals-against average and .915 save percentage. This is not bad for a goalie who was not expected to see much action for the Devils. For his career, Blackwood Has appeared in 70 games with a 2.72 goals-against average and .916 save percentage with five shutouts. Entering the season, Blackwood is the clear cut number one goalie for the Devils.
What Lies Ahead
Considering the contract the Devils gave Blackwood, they have faith in him to be the starting goalie going forward. However, the question facing the Devils is have they burnt out the young goalie this prior season? And can Blackwood have the same success as he did a year ago? There is no doubt he can, but what will the team in front of him look like. You can have a goalie like Blackwood play great every game, but if the team in front of him is not very good, it will be tough to win games. Especially if you always rely on the goalie to win games.
The Devils did upgrade their goaltending with the signing of Corey Crawford during the off-season. Crawford was signed to a two-year deal. This will help the young goaltender come along and give him rest when he needs to during this 56-game schedule. Not to mention with teams having to carry three goalies look for Scott Wedgewood to be added to the mix just in case of COVID.
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