NHL Rumors: Devils Continue To Scout To Improve Goaltending

Devils Remain on the Hunt For An Upgrade at the Goalie Position

Dave Pagnotta of the Fourth Period joined the Full Press Hockey Podcast and was asked by Vox Media NHL Analyst Bruce Zeman about the New Jersey Devils and what they will do at the goaltending position.

** NHLRumors.com transcription

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Bruce Zeman: “Here’s the million-dollar question that Jim and I have talked about this podcast.  We’ve given the Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald a lot of credit for what he did Timo Meier, getting the players in and getting Jack Hughes on what is turning out to be a real bargain deal. But at what point do the Devils have to decide in your opinion, (Vitek) Vanecek or (Akira) Schmid?

One of these guys is going to be our number one guy going forward or do we have to go out and get somebody? It seems this year it was like a roller coaster with these guys. They play really well. They don’t play really well. They missed out on (Connor) Hellebuyck at the beginning of the year. I guess my question is this long-winded question what do you do? And at what point do you say we’ve got to do something if one of these guys isn’t our guy?”

Dave Pagnotta: “They’re looking they’re already looking. You know, Tom Fitzgerald and the staff had been looking around to see what their options are, you know in goal and yes, they’ve kind of had some very loose discussions with Anaheim about (John) Gibson, but I think they’re going to look around to see what other alternatives there may be.

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If that’s the case, if you are getting a goaltender that’s got like a $5 million plus price tag with them more likely than not even with this extra cap space that they get to play with this season Vanecek to me he’s got to move. He’s got $3.4 million this year and next.

The other team is gonna want like if you’re Anaheim, and you’re moving Gibson, you’re gonna want somebody to help share the load and net and the Ducks are doing their due diligence. They’re looking around the league as well to see if maybe there’s an ulterior add that they can make. So moving out Gibson doesn’t necessarily mean a goaltender comes back if they have something else, but kind of looking around right now. That’s very complicated.

And I suspect this, this scouting trip that they’re on that includes looking at some of the young goalies around the league, I think that may be more geared towards a potential offseason type of move for, for the Ducks but with respect to in-season and the potential of moving a guy like John Gibson, if it’s if it’s a Devils you’re looking at probably Vanecek, because it’s going to help offset some money. He’s $6.4 (million), Vanecek $3.4 (million), so it’s a $3 million boost in the cap which is palatable going into next season. And this season, you obviously have a ton of space.

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But you’re gonna look else, you’re gonna look elsewhere. Like as Elvis Merzlikins a guy that you’re gonna go after in Columbus. He needs a change of scenery and we’ve seen the reports now that they’re kind of open to that possibility. So there’s that. Is it a stopgap like a Jake Allen? I don’t think that’s ideal. I don’t think that’s what they want to do. You might as well just stick with what you got at that point.

But in terms of guys that seem to be number ones, Gibson, Merzlikins to me would be guys that they’re going to check in on and continue to, and then go from there. I think you have a long-winded question. I’m giving you one hell of a long-winded answer. But I do think it goaltending is an area that’s, that I think they’re acknowledged they need to improve on.”