I am a little behind on this, as this award was given out back on January 1, but since there is very little Devils news during the on-going bye week, I thought I would get to this now.
Devils’ goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood was named the Meigrey Group/ECHL Alumnus of the Month for December. Blackwood, a former member of the Adirondack Thunder of the ECHL, made his NHL debut on December 18 against the Hurricanes (posting a 2-0 shutout) and then blanked the Canucks on December 29 to become the first Devils rookie goalie to record back-to-back shutouts in his first two career starts.
He played for the Thunder in 2017-18 where he was 2-1-1 (2.48 goals against average and .920 save percentage) according to the ECHL’s press release on the award. The release also mentions that he played in the 2018 Kelly Cup Playoffs, going 3-1 with a shutout for Adirondack.
Blackwood is one of 651 players all-time who have gone from the ECHL to eventually play in the NHL. The press release states that ten made their NHL debut this season alone (including Blackwood).
In other ECHL news, the CCM/ECHL All-Star Classic will be presented tonight from Toledo, Ohio on the NHL Network. I will be watching and will have something up a little bit later. The All-Star Classic is a 3-on-3 tournament similar to what the NHL and AHL do. The Skills Competition will take place between the rounds of the tournament according to the ECHL website. That will include the Fastest Skater, Hardest Shot and Accuracy Shooting contests.
Representing the Thunder for the Eastern Conference in the All-Star Classic will be Mike Szmatula. The ECHL All-Stars are chosen by a vote taken from coaches, team captains, media relations directors, broadcasters and other members of the media in ECHL cities according to the ECHL website.