Devils’ Mackenzie Blackwood hoping to re-sign: ‘I would love to play here long-term’


New Jersey goalkeeper Devils Mackenzie Blackwood is a restricted free agent pending after the 2019-20 season. He said he hadn't thought about it much until recently.

"During the season, I really don't like to think about contracts or things like that, but now that I've had time to get used to it a little bit, I've talked a bit with my agent," Blackwood told reporters. on a call Monday. "I really don't know exactly how it is going to happen, but whatever it is, I like Jersey. I love playing here and would love to play here in the long run. I'm sure we can find out something like this and hope it can work out smoothly" .

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In his second season with Devils, Blackwood became the initial netminder after Cory Schneider was sent down to Binghamton. In 47 games, he scored an average of 2.77 goals against, with a saving percentage of 0.915 and 7.30 goals above average.

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As part of the New Jersey youth group with strikers Jack Hughes, Nico Hischier and Pavel Zacha, Blackwood wants to stay with the Demons and grow with them.

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"I love playing here. Everyone has always asked me what it is like to play here and I say it is a very good place. I think this team in the near future must be very, very good," he said. "At the moment, I think they are the youngest team on average, so it shows that, moving forward, everyone will develop and I think it would be really exciting if we could all develop together."

"I find it exciting and I want to be a part of it and I find myself part of it. It is definitely a place in a situation where I find myself doing it for a long time."

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The season was difficult for the Devils, who started 9-13-4 before shooting trainer John Hynes. Under the command of interim coach Alain Nasreddine, the team played 19-16-8 and boasted the league's best penalty (86%) since he took office on December 3.

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Blackwood characterized his season as a good one, but added that he has a long way to go as just a 23-year-old NHL goalkeeper.

"I was proud of the way I handled certain situations I had been in, but I still think that looking at myself and evaluating myself is something that I have several ways to keep growing and developing," he said in his hometown. from Thunder Bay, Ontario. "I was happy with how my season went this year, but at the same time, there are many things I can improve on. Starting the year, we struggled a little. We started to find our step a little more. Fortunately, I had the opportunity that I had this year to continue growing and developing. "

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Choosing the second round of New Jersey in 2015, Blackwood had a heavy workload in the first half of the season, playing in 30 of the team's first 39 games. Although he is not a big fan of consecutive moves, he didn't mind staying between the pipes, as long as he had time between games.

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"I think playing a lot is a good way to develop, especially at the beginning. There is a fine line between resting and finding the right amount, so you want to try to figure that out and balance it out in the best possible way," he noted. "I think at the end of the year, maybe from the end of December, we did a good job of managing workloads and things like that, mainly because I played a lot of games in the beginning.

"I was happy with the way it went for me this year."

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