3 things the New Jersey Devils need to do to get back in the playoffs race

The Devils are currently eight points out of a playoff spot with 20 games to play. They're going to have to play their best hockey down the stretch to get back into the playoff race.

Feb 17, 2024; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New Jersey Devils goaltender Nico Daws (50) and
Feb 17, 2024; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New Jersey Devils goaltender Nico Daws (50) and / Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports
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1) The Devils need to acquire a goaltender

The biggest reason that the New Jersey Devils are where they are at this point in time is their goaltending. No run will be made until that is addressed. Entering the season with Vitek Vanecek and Akira Schmid as the tandem in net made sense, even with Vanecek's playoff struggles because of how good he was in the regular season. Geeral manager Tom Fitzgerald doing nothing to address the goaltending all season long, however, is a fireable offense.

Every goalie the Devils have turned to has been horrible. Vanecek, despite his 17-9-3 record, has a putrid .890 save percentage in 32 appearances and has a -11.2 goals saved above expected according to Moneypuck. That's good for 91st out of 93 goaltenders to appear in a NHL game this season.

Schmid has been just as bad, posting a .895 save percentage in his 19 appearances and he's seen time in the AHL because of his struggles. Nico Daws, their third-string goalie, had a nice stretch of games but has been awful recently, and now has a .887 save percentage. They've combined to rack up -8.2 goals saved above expected.

All-in-all, the Devils are 27th in the NHL allowing 3.52 goals per game, and rank 31st, only ahead of the Senators, with a .890 save percentage. Their defense has been far from perfect, but the goaltenders have ultimately been what has held this team back. Every time they need a save, they simply don't get one. That's an issue.

Will the Devils make a big swing for a goaltender like Jacob Markstrom or Juuse Saros? Maybe, but they might be too far out now for Fitzgerald to pull the trigger on that big of a move. That kind of move is really the only way that the Devils can climb their way back into the race. There will be no playoffs with the trio they have now. Fitzgerald has under 48 hours to make magic happen.

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