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New Jersey Devils Goalie Targets Not in the NHL

As we approach the NHL Trade Deadline, it’s full steam ahead in the goalie trade market. In the centre of it all is the New Jersey Devils. If a goalie has been rumoured to trade speculation, the Devils have sniffed around and have likely shown interest. Over the past few weeks, there’s been reported interest in several goalies, including Jakob Markstrom, Elvis Merzlinkins, and most recently, Juuse Saros.

However, as recent reports seem to indicate, making a goalie trade of such magnitude in-season is a difficult thing to pull off. Goaltending is still a big problem for the Devils. In the short term, Nico Daws has helped steady the ship in recent weeks. Although, Vitek Vanecek, Akira Schmid and Daws himself have struggled to find any consistency this season. Those three combined have a -13.9 Goals Saved Above Expected.

Long term, the Devils don’t seem to have “the guy”. Even with the reported interest in Markstrom, Merzlinkins, and Saros, there are major question marks. Markstrom is 34 and has only two years left on his contract. Saros is 30, having one of the worst seasons of his career, and is a UFA after next season. Merzlinkins is 29, has three more years at $5.9 million, and has a career Save Percentage of 0.905. The point is that there is no cure-all option on the market right now.

Instead, the Devils should focus on trying to find their goalie of the future, and someone who is not in the NHL. Schmid and Daws still look like projectable NHL contributors, but the Devils need a bonafide number one. If they decide to go this route, there are a couple of very promising and young goalies that could be available.

New Jersey Devils Goalie Targets

Dimitri Gamzin – CSKA Moskva, KHL

The Devils have a great view of what an elite Russian goalie looks like. With Igor Shesterkin on the New York Rangers, and Ilya Sorokin on the New York Islanders, maybe it’s time for the Devils to find their own Russian. Enter; Dimitri Gamzin. Gamzin is 20 years old and has bounced around the Russian leagues, having been skipped over in the draft multiple years. No matter where he’s played in Russia he’s had success. This year, Gamzin has bounced between the KHL and VHL, setting both leagues on fire. But it’s his numbers in the KHL that have opened eyes. In 12 games, Gamzin has a 6-4 record but has put up an outstanding 0.940 SV% to go along with a 1.90 GAA. That’s good for the second-best SV% and fifth-best GAA in the KHL.

There isn’t much known on Gamzin and whether or not he has any NHL interest. However, he is still just 20 years old and his KHL contract only runs until the end of next year. The Devils are very familiar with being patient with Russians, i.e., Arseni Gritsyuk, so waiting a year shouldn’t be an issue. Also, like we’ve seen with Shesterkin and Sorokin, letting young Russian goalies stay for a few years to play in the KHL before coming over tends to be successful.

Tomas Suchanek – San Diego Gulls, AHL

Another goalie who’s been passed over in the draft and is having success is Czech goalie, Tomas Suchanek. The 20-year-old currently plays for the San Diego Gulls, the Anaheim Ducks AHL affiliate. However, Suchanek has yet to sign an NHL contract. A decision that’s a head-scratcher considering his stats. In 17 AHL games this year, he has an 11-3-3 record, with a 0.927 SV% and a 2.34 GAA. Before this season, Suchanek was still putting up solid numbers with the Tri-City Americans of the WHL and had a standout performance for the Czechs at the 2022 World Juniors. The scouting report on the 6’2″, 181 lbs goalie is that he plays an aggressive style that relies on his hockey IQ to get himself into good positions.

Signing Suchanek is low risk, high reward for the Devils. His entry-level contract would give the Devils a cheap option to come in and compete for a spot in the NHL right away. Worst-case scenario, they would have another young, promising goalie in the AHL. The Ducks will likely want to sign him up quickly, but with young goalies in Lukas Dostal, Calle Clang, and Gage Alexander also in the organization, Suchanek may explore other options where he’ll have a better shot at making an immediate impact.

Sebastian Cossa/Trey AugustineDetroit Red Wings, NHL

A trade for either of these goalies may be tricky, but not impossible. The Detroit Red Wings drafted Sebastian Cossa 15th overall back in 2021. His Draft +1 year was a total disaster. He played in just three AHL games, posting an abysmal 0.783 SV% and 5.57 GAA. This got him sent to the ECHL, where he did however put up some nice stats. Cossa’s 2023-24 season has been much better. He’s managed to stick in the AHL and has recorded a respectful 0.905 SV% and 2.76 GAA. Cossa is also a massive goalie, listed at 6’6″ and 210 lbs, giving him the prototypical NHL goalie size.


As for Augustine, he was selected 41st overall in 2023 after putting up good numbers for the USNTDP. This season Augustine has put up solid numbers as a freshman at Michigan State University. Although, it’s Augustine’s numbers at this year’s World Juniors that are eye-opening. He went 4-0 with a 0.936 SV% and a 1.75 GAA to help the USA capture gold. The 6’1″, 179 lbs Augustine was lights out for the Americans. His composure in the net stood out over all the other goalies in the tournament.

The question becomes why would the Red Wings trade either goalie? The short answer is to capitalize on the goalie market and maximize either player’s value. Both goalies are young and project to be number-one goalie calibre. The Red Wings are a team that has now entered the stage of the rebuild where they want to compete for the playoffs. For the Devils, they are in a similar situation, trying to compete for the playoffs and a Stanley Cup, but don’t have a goalie of the present or future to do so. A potential exchange of high-profile prospects might make sense for both teams. The Devils have an elite prospect in Seamus Casey who may be surplus to requirements, while the Red Wings seem to have an extra number-one type goalie in their system. It’s a tricky trade to make, but one the Devils should at least explore.

Main Photo: Andy Abeyta/The Desert Sun / USA TODAY NETWORK


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