4 Big Questions for the New Jersey Devils in 2020-21

Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports /
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New Jersey Devils
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3. Can Scott Wedgewood replace Corey Crawford?

When Corey Crawford announced his out-of-the-blue retirement mere days into New Jersey’s training camp, it left the Devils in a weird place.

While everyone, and I do mean everyone, should wholeheartedly support Crawford’s decision to hang up his skates once and for all if he truly believes it’s the right call, doing so within two weeks of the start of the 2020-21 season left the team with very few external options to address the situation.

Sure, the Devils could – and very well still may – claim long-time goaltender Cory Schneider, as the New York Islanders still haven’t filed his contract and could still subject him to waivers, but that’s a lot of moving parts. Schneider does have a ton of experience netminding in a red jersey, but after buying out his contract, that’d sure look a bit embarrassing.

No, the most likely scenario is that the Devils will enter the regular season with MacKenzie Blackwood as their unquestioned starter and Scott Wedgewood as their top reserve.

Now to be fair, Wedgewood isn’t some unknown commodity. He was drafted by the Devils in the third round of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft and appeared in 20 games for the Arizona Coyotes as recently as 2018. By all accounts, the 28-year-old looks great during training camp, and the Devils clearly liked him enough to avoid adding external competition so far this calendar year.

If Wedgewood can provide 20ish starts yet again in relief of Blackwood and at least split them 50-50, it’ll go a long way to keeping the Devils competitive in 2020-21. But if he struggles? Then it becomes a whole lot harder to judge the rest of the roster for 20ish percent of the season.