Jonathan Bernier and Mackenzie Blackwood tandem
With the offseason officially off to a big splash reeling in right-handed defenseman Dougie Hamilton. General Manager Tom Fitzgerald is off to a hot start signing goalie Jonathan Bernier. In a few quotes by the man himself Jonathan Bernier. These are quotes from https://www.nhl.com/devils/video/bernier-media-avail-72821–raw/t-277437418/c-8747663
“It played a big part, to be honest, when Marty called me, I was pretty excited,” Bernier said. “He always has been a guy that I admire and (tried) to follow his steps. So it’s always special to have a call as a goalie from a guy like him.”
What did Bernie and Brodeur, who is a team advisor for the Devils, discuss during the call Wednesday?
“He called me and talked to me about short term and long term (on how) they see the team,” Bernier said. “He talked to me about the city, and the organization … it just seemed to be a great fit.”
The Devils signed the free-agent goaltender to bring some depth to the roster and split the workload with Mackenzie Blackwood. Bernier said that having a close to even workload is a trend emerging throughout the league.
“I think it’s very important,” he said. “We saw obviously last year was a different scenario with a condensed schedule but this year we’re going to have the same thing. You can see around the league that a lot of teams win with a 1a-1b. If you look around the league, it’s a 60-40 share, it’s really close to 50-50.”
Notes and Conclusions
What to expect from Jonathan Bernier is that he’s played in 394 games with 355 games started. Jonathan is a 2.77 GAA% type of goalie with 18 career shutouts.https://www.nhl.com/player/jonathan-bernier-8473541 Bernier is the kind of goaltender who will help reduce the workload for a netminder like Mackenzie Blackwood to not have to carry a ton of weight under an 82 game schedule. This 1A 1B tandem will allow both Blackwood and Bernier to be very productive in net with a really revitalized defense. Having seen Blackwood struggle under a very heavy workload he was still able to win 14 games in a down year.
Jonathan Bernier meanwhile can play in a minimal of 32-33 games this season and if the Devils are performing middle of the pack to wild card those extra rest days can prove to be very beneficial. Beneficial in seeing the team grow into being a powerhouse again.
Hamilton Performing In New Jersey
No no everyone that’s just a perfect setup because that was a Broadway reference to the show Hamilton. The start of the offseason with the Devils that really got the hockey world really going on social media was the signing of Dougie Hamilton. General Manager Tom Fitzgerald absolutely nailed the past few acquisitions in adding Ryan Graves to the left side, but also getting Dougie Hamilton on the right side. Having two really promising veterans on the top pair defense core that can add size, physicality, defense, and offense.
Fitzgerald added a monster of a defenseman who can absolutely be a two-way threat and can absolutely thrive under Mark Recchi on the power play, and play super well under coach Lindy Ruff. Jack Hughes, Yegor Sharangovich, Miles Wood, Nico Hischier, Pavel Zacha, Jesper Bratt to name a few can rely on the past two defenders in making them more confident on the offensive side of the game. The Devils lacked really high-quality veteran leaders on and off the ice and this can breed winning results for a young group.
What to expect from Dougie Hamilton is a guy that can pretty much do it all. He is the kind of guy you want on your team that can absolutely add a spark to any team’s lineup. He can adapt to playing physical hockey or he can play that offensive mindset that his own team begins to really savor, especially on the power play. The Devils had that pass-first mentality and now they have a guy that has a shoot-first mentality and can do long stretch passes. Those kinds of deep passes can be huge on a Jack Hughes or even a Jesper Bratt offensive scoring drive that can give the Devils a lead to win a game.
Tom Fitzgerald Still Shopping
Do not be surprised if Tom Fitzgerald goes out and makes another deal or few to improve the starting lineup in time for opening night. The stakes are getting higher and fans are really happy to see how this team is looking to evolve into a playoff juggernaut. Names like Brandon Saad have been mentioned and another thing to expect is the Devils’ Restricted Free Agents to get extensions. There is a lot to look forward to for Devils Nation and things are looking much brighter now that some moves have been made.
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