Akira Schmid – New Jersey Devils
New Jersey Devils goaltender Akira Schmid stormed onto the NHL scene last season and made a name for himself early in the playoffs. He faltered later in the playoffs but Schmid, 22, showed what he is capable of at the NHL level. Schmid is a massive goaltender at 6-foot-6 and 206 pounds so he takes away a lot of room for the shooters. Schmid was the Devils 5th round pick (136th overall) in the 2018 NHL Draft and worked his way up to potential number one status. He really shined in his time between the pipes last season, gaining the confidence of his teammates while making tremendous stops.
Last season was the first time Schmid was put to the test. He posted a 9-5-2 record with a 2.13 GAA and a .922 save percentage with one shutout in the regular season. In the playoffs, Schmid and the New Jersey Devils fell apart but he posted a record of 4-4 with a .921 save percentgae and a 2.35 GAA. His career numbers in the regular season are a 9-9 record with a .902 save percentage and a 2.69 GAA. His regular season numbers, aside from win total, are similar to starter Vitek Vanecek. Vanecek had a record of 33-11-4 with a 2.46 GAA and a .911 save percentage and three shutouts.
This is a big year for Schmid to make a statement and pursue the full-time starter job. With Mackenzie Blackwood now gone to the Western Conference, the backup job is Schmid’s to lose.He has the ability to shine and take hold of the net. Schmid will be an RFA after this season so he will need to perform well to earn a contract extension. Things are looking up for Schmid and New Jersey as he continues to impress the Devils organization and the entire NHL.