New Jersey Devils notes: On Blackwood, Thompson, Bratt, and more
The only thing consistent about Blackwood's play is that it's inconsistent. Plus, notes on Thompson's struggles, Bratt heating up, and updated shot contributions numbers.
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A few New Jersey Devils notes on this off-day:
Cut back on Mac Black
That should be the new year’s resolution for Lindy Ruff and the coaching staff. Unless the situation is dire and starting Mackenzie Blackwood is absolutely necessary (aka injuries in net, recall options having already played a back-to-back, etc.) I think the Devils should really try and avoid giving Blackwood consecutive starts. The only thing consistent about his play is that it is inconsistent.
It feels like every time he puts forth a real good showing that allows you to think – even for a second – he may be turning a corner, he falls on his face the next time the Devils go back to him.
Blackwood has played 18 NHL games since the beginning of 2022. Only once in that span did he post a save percentage of .901 (league average) or higher in back-to-back appearances. Once!
That came earlier this season during a very difficult stretch where the Devils unreasonably asked him to make 16 saves against the New York Islanders and 21 saves against the San Jose Sharks. How he managed to post good numbers twice in a row under such dire workloads – and against such talented offensive teams – is beyond me. We’ll probably need a 30 for 30 on it at some point.
And another thing: don’t start Blackwood vs quality opponents. His .915 save percentage against the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday was the highest he posted since Jan 1st of 2022 against a team that made the playoffs or is sitting in a playoff spot.
Other notable appearances (from most recent to least):
.778 SV% vs BOS
.889 SV% vs EDM
.722 SV% vs WSH
.853 SV% vs BOS
.900 SV% vs WSH
.865 SV% vs EDM
The Devils weren't the team for the latter games that they are now but, even so, it’s probably noteworthy Blackwood is borderline incapable of putting together a good showing against a team with talent.
All his good games in 2022 came against non-playoff teams (Florida without Barkov, Vancouver, San Jose, New York Islanders, Columbus, etc.).
So, yeah, please tone it down with Blackwood in 2023. Don’t go back to him if he plays well for a game because he’s probably not going to follow it up; and certainly don’t use him against a high-end team unless it’s a last resort.
Tyce isn’t nice
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