The New Jersey Devils might be back on track with the return of their captain, Nico Hischier. However, that doesn’t cover up the fact that their goaltending is weak. According to a report, nothing is imminent at this time, but the Devils are “looking around” for goaltending again.
According to Sportsnet insider, Elliotte Friedman, he’s under the impression that general manager Tom Fitzgerald is snooping around to strengthen New Jersey’s crease. This was something he mentioned at the beginning of the season, too. However, Fitzgerald has seemingly turned his efforts up a notch with New Jersey’s goaltending woes not rectifying themselves.
“I’m really curious to see what they do in goal here,” Friedman explained to Jeff Marek on The Jeff Marek Show. “I think they’ve been looking around, I don’t think there is anything imminent or anything, but I think they are calling teams to find out asking prices on certain goalies.”
The Devils are giving up more goals per game (3.63) than they’re scoring (3.53). It’s not totally on the goaltending, but Vitek Vanecek and Akira Schmid certainly haven’t stolen any games. In fact, they have a combined .888 SV% as both Vanecek and Schmid have a sub .900 SV%.
Over the summer, Fitzgerald was in the mix for Connor Hellebuyck. He’s no longer available after extending in Winnipeg long-term. Barry Trotz declared Juuse Saros unavailable as a solution to Nashville’s retool. Some have wondered if that makes Yaroslav Askarov available. Does New Jersey want to rely on a goaltender with one NHL game under his belt to solidify their crease? Sure, his ceiling is high and maybe it works long-term, but it’s not a solution for today.
However, there are options out there.
The Anaheim Ducks were fun to watch on their hot streak, however, they’ve lost six straight games. Perhaps John Gibson is available with the emergence Lukáš Dostál, although the 23-year-old has struggled lately. Following the 2023-24 season, Gibson has three years remaining on his contract with a $6.4 million cap hit.
The Montreal Canadiens are carrying three goaltenders. Perhaps Jake Allen or Samuel Montembault are options. Both are playing decent in net. As opposed to the Devils’ goaltenders, they’re both at least over the .900 SV% mark.
Perhaps the three-headed goaltending situation in Detroit could even be a solution.
And although significant in-division trades are rare, the Philadelphia Flyers have had Carter Hart reportedly available for some time now. The Devils at least have the assets to make it happen.
The Devils are keeping their head above water. However, there’s little to no doubt that Fitzgerald will need to upgrade somewhere outside of the forward group. That’s either the blue line or the goaltending. The path with the least resistance is certainly acquiring a defenseman. However, the bigger need just might be in net. We’ll see where this potentially goes.