The Devils Draft Prospect Series continues with another 2015 draft pick but be sure to look through the “Draft Prospect Series” tag on the blog for the rest of the 2017 and 2016 draft picks. I covered the Devils’ first-round pick Pavel Zacha this morning.
The New Jersey Devils selected goaltender MacKenzie Blackwood 42nd overall in the second round of the 2015 NHL Entry-Level Draft. The 20-year old, 6′ 4″, 225-pound Canadian netminder is one of the Devils’ many goaltending prospects. He played three seasons with the Barrie Colts (OHL) and represented Canada at World Juniors before joining the Albany Devils (AHL) this past season. The Devils signed Blackwood to a three-year, entry-level contract in December 2015.
Here are some of his stats:
In his OHL career, he’s posted a 2.93 goals against average and a .91 save percentage during the regular season; he has a career 2.73 GAA and a .914 save percentage in the postseason. Blackwood’s last year with the Colts was arguably his best, posting a 2.72 goals against average and .921 save percentage in 43 regular season games, and a 2.71 GAA and a .915 save percentage in 13 playoff games.
In 2013-14, he was named to the OHL’s First All-Rookie Team. In 2014-15 and 2015-16, he was an OHL All-Star, and in 2015-16, he was also named the OHL Goaltender of the Year.
Blackwood joined the Albany Devils last season and split games with Ken Appleby after Scott Wedgewood suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in the fall. He posted a 17-14-3 record, a 2.55 GAA, and a .907 save percentage in 36 regular season games. He posted a 1-3-0 record, a 2.13 GAA, and a .928 save percentage in four playoff games as the Devils fell in the first round to the Toronto Marlies; Blackwood picked up the Devils’ lone win with a shutout. Here’s an article from Times Union about Blackwood, a rookie goaltender, leading Albany into the playoffs.
Here’s what Curtis Joe of EliteProspects had to say about Blackwood in 2014: “A goalie who stays calm, cool, and collected in all situations, whether down by five or leading by ten. Knows his game inside and out, and never panics. With his size, it isn’t a surprise that he excels in the traditional butterfly-style; plays the puck intelligently and is quick to react with both his blocker and glove hand. Swift, crisp lateral movements let him get into positions where shooters have nothing to shoot at. At the end of the day, you can never complain when you have a goalie who tries as hard, and plays as consistently, as Mackenzie Blackwood.”
Here’s Hockey’sFuture’s talent analysis: “Blackwood is a modern goaltender who plays a strong butterfly style which combines his size and incredible athleticism. He was one of the best athletes in his draft class and top performers at the NHL combine. Using this, he moves quickly for his size in the cease, especially laterally. By staying poised and being in the right position, Blackwood is able to play consistently each night. In order to reach the next level, he still needs to improve his stickhandling and patience in staying on his feet longer. He also feels he can always improve his hands.”
Here’s an extensive look at Blackwood, courtesy of The Hockey Writers, and it includes a one-on-one with him.
Blackwood is a good goaltending prospect for the Devils but he’s not the only one. Cory Schneider and Keith Kinkaid are still New Jersey’s starting goaltenders; Wedgewood might make the jump if one of them gets hurt or gets traded. Both Wedgewood and Blackwood could be trade bait if there is a team out there looking for a solid goaltending prospect to develop. Wedgewood still needs to sign a contract but Blackwood still has a year left on his entry-level. With a year in the AHL under his belt, he should have a good, better season. I’m excited to watch him play at development camp this week as well.