Devils Need to Consider Daws & Schmid Tandem
Even though Akira Schmid has struggled in the AHL, his NHL stint wasn't as bad as the numbers suggest.
Goaltending has been a significant problem for the New Jersey Devils this season. Finding a long-term solution in the coming weeks will be crucial to the team sustaining its Cup window, which will open in the near future.
In the meantime, the Devils need to find a solution in the short term. Vitek Vaněček has been a liability nearly every time he's made a start. Nico Daws has provided average goaltending, but they need more than just him.
You never know who'll go on waivers as a potential 1B option to Daws. But those options are usually few and far between. The Devils' best choice in the short term may be to turn to a Daws and Akira Schmid tandem. Let's look at why that's the case.
Vaněček's Poor Play Warrants a Change
The Devils turning to Schmid and Daws really is about how poorly Vaněček has played this season. His .883 save percentage is the fourth-worst in the league. Only Arvid Soderblöm, Antti Raanta and Ilya Samsonov have a worse SV% than him.
Vaněček's underlying numbers don't portray a goaltender due for a bounce-back anytime soon, either. Among goalies with at least ten games played, Vaněček's minus-13.2 goals saved above expected ranks second to last in the NHL to Samsonov, and it's only by a difference of 0.4.
None of Vaněček's other underlying metrics are pretty. His five-on-five save percentage of .896 is eight-worst in the NHL, while his high-danger SV% of .730 is fourth-worst in the league. It's quite incredible that Vaněček has a 16-7-2 record, but the Devils are winning in spite of him during his starts.
Vaněček is not the only starting netminder to have struggled this season. The Edmonton Oilers sent Jack Campbell to the AHL after he had a poor start to the season. He remains there and has been up and down in his time with the Bakersfield Condors, but he has posted a .939 SV% in his last four starts.