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Isaac Poulter Could be an Answer in Goal for the New Jersey Devils

Isaac Poulter’s development appears parallel to former Devils goaltender, current Vegas Golden Knights netminder, Logan Thompson.

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New Jersey Devils

Amid his second pro season, Isaac Poulter got the call to sign his first NHL contract. The 22-year-old was in the middle of a breakout year when he signed a two-year, two-way contract.

Poulter has done nothing but improve his game over the years, to the point today where he’s seemingly on track to be a legitimate option in the NHL in the future. The 22-year-old, undrafted prospect goaltender signed an AHL contract after four years with the Swift Current Broncos of the WHL. During his time in Western Canada, Poulter never managed a GAA lower than 3.00. His play was so poor at one point that he was loaned to the Whitecourt Wolverines of the AJHL.

Two years later, Isaac Poulter entered the 2023-24 season off the back of a not-so-great 2022-23. He had just gone 7-3-3, with a 3.62 GAA and a 0.883 SV% with the Utica Comets at the AHL level. And with the Adirondack Thunder of the ECHL, his numbers were improved, but not inspiring, going 10-8-1 with a 2.93 GAA and a 0.910 SV% which earned him the two-year extension.

Whatever Poulter did during the offseason worked. In the AHL, he went 17-8-1 with a 2.55 GAA and a 0.911 SV%. In addition, his play at the ECHL level has been incredibly strong. He went 5-0-0 with a 2.44 GAA and a 0.917 SV%. It was enough to earn him a contract and a handful of NHL call-ups.

However, what Poulter’s done in Adirondack in the ECHL playoffs is opening eyes. He has backstopped the Devils ECHL affiliate to the Conference Finals on the backs of a 1.74 GAA and a 0.940 SV%, including a 54-save win.

Poulter has been stealing games for Adirondack. He’s recorded three shutouts, as well as three one-goal games in his last three starts. It’s his athleticism and calmness under pressure that has raised eyebrows. A possible ECHL championship will position Poulter well to compete for the starting job in the AHL next season.

Maybe it’s the real deal, or maybe the Devils are just starved for good goaltending, but Poulter is giving the organization something to look forward to. Whether it’s him, Akira Schmid, Nico Daws, or recently signed Jakub Malek, the Devils suddenly have a crop of good young goalies.

Poulter’s rise to the NHL is similar to a former goalie in the Devils organization, Logan Thompson. Thompson signed with the then Binghamton Devils of the AHL after finishing up in the WHL. He spent a full season with the Adirondack Thunder in the ECHL before signing with the Washington Capitals ECHL affiliate. Two years later, Thompson found himself in the net for the Stanley Cup champion Vegas Golden Knights and is a starting-caliber goalie in the NHL. With question marks in net for the Devils, they surely wouldn’t mind having Logan Thompson in goal right now.

That’s not to say that Poulter will end up as the next Logan Thompson. However, with the current state of the Devils’ goaltending, they should look at every available option to find a solution. Who’s not to say that Isaac Poulter can’t have a similar path to the NHL as Thompson did?

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