The New Jersey Devils have found their goalie of the future in Mackenzie Blackwood. On December 23rd, the Devils signed a 3-year, $8.4 million contract with a $2.8 million AAV. Having this contract for one of the most underrated goalies in the East Division is satisfying for Devils fans and Blackwood himself. Blackwood was to become a UFA after the 2020-21 season, and the Devils inevitably had to sign him before he could sign somewhere else. So, what does this contract mean for Blackwood and his future to the New Jersey Devils?
How Mackenzie Blackwood Has Impressed the Devils Owners
Despite losing his first three games as a backup, Mackenzie Blackwood started against the Boston Bruins on December 27th, 2018. No one had any idea how he would play that night. Blackwood performed incredibly, which impressed many, stopping 40 of 42 shots to earn his first NHL victory beating the Bruins 5-2. When he played two days later against the Carolina Hurricanes, he recorded his career’s first shutout by stopping all 37 shots in a 2-0 Devils victory.
Blackwood would get praise from the NHL, getting the Third Star of the Week for that shutout. In the 2019-20 season, he went on a winning streak of five games, shutting out the Los Angeles Kings and Philadelphia Flyers in two straight games. His winning streak would end against the Kings in overtime on February 29th. With a 22-14 record, a 2.77 GAA, and a .915 save percentage, he showed signs of improvement. It sends glee over the organization, feeling happy about Blackwood. But now that Blackwood’s past has gotten covered, what does this contract mean for his future?
What Will Mackenzie Blackwood’s Future Be With New Jersey Devils?
With Blackwood now being the official starter, he is now on the path to becoming the Devils’ next great goaltender. To continue being generous, he has to continue to show much effort with this team. Remember, the Devils don’t have a good defense, so Blackwood must continue to play well to help them win games. But with that said, he is still pretty young and needs some mentoring to perform better.
Thankfully, Tom Fitzgerald found the perfect goalie to mentor Mackenzie Blackwood. On October 9th, 2020, the Devils signed Corey Crawford, who had recently left the Chicago Blackhawks, to a two-year $7.8 million contract. Crawford is perhaps one of the best mentors a goalie could have. Crawford has been one of the best goalies in the 2010’s, winning three Stanley Cups with the Blackhawks.
Having a goalie with that type of experience could help Blackwood improve his game. Having Crawford on the Devils helps make an excellent goalie tandem for the future.
To sum up how Devils fans, as well as the organization, are feeling, they are very happy about Mackenzie Blackwood’s contract. Knowing how impressive he can become, it’s comforting to know this organization worked out a deal to keep him in New Jersey for a really long time. Now if only they could’ve done something similar to Jesper Bratt. To wrap this article up here is one quick question. Will Mackenzie Blackwood be the next Martin Brodeur in the coming years?
Well, to tell you the truth, he probably isn’t. No goaltender is ever going to be like Martin Brodeur; at least not quickly. Blackwood still needs to find his style of goaltending, which could make him stand out. Brodeur also played on a team with a better defense, so the Devils have to build a better defense. So, congrats on the contract Mackenzie Blackwood, and let’s hope he continues his greatness in hockey so far.
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