Devils Goaltender Loaned To AHL On Conditioning Stint

The New Jersey Devils PR released that MacKenzie Blackwood, who is presumed to be the backup goaltender in New Jersey, has been assigned to the Utica Comets of the AHL on a conditioning loan. This means he is close to returning to the lineup. He has been on the long-term injured reserve for a while and the team has done excellent without him.

Vitek Vanecek has solidified the number one spot in net in Blackwood's absence while Akira Schmid has really stepped up and provided great numbers as the team's second option. Vanecek has 12 wins, a .912 SV%, and 2.39 GAA while Schmid has five wins in six games, a .940 SV%, and 1.70 GAA. Schmid is still exempt from waivers so the most likely scenario is sending him back down to the AHL for now.

Seeing how Schmid really stepped up and Vanecek is the Devils' starter, it will create a lot of pressure for the team to see results once Blackwood returns or ship him out. He has a small enough cap hit that it won't be too difficult to do.

Blackwood went 4-2-0 and had a .880 SV% and 2.79 GAA with a -3.5 GSAA. His numbers weren't great at all compared to what the Devils' other two goaltenders have done. Seeing that the team keeps shots to a minimum, Blackwood will have to stay engaged and stop what is thrown at him to be an asset to the Devils.

Photo credit: © Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports