Devils COVID Update

Some news regarding the Devils and COVID was reported today as the NHL tries to get a handle on the Omicron variant.

According to Sam Kasan of the Inside the Devils Blog, Tomas Tatar and newly acquired goalie Jon Gillies have entered into COVID Protocol. On the other side and in more encouraging news, Nico Hischier, Jesper Boqvist, Ryan Graves, PK Subban and Christian Jaros have all been removed from the Protocol list.

Again, as confirmed by the Devils on Christmas Eve, the game tomorrow (Monday, December 27) at the St. Louis Blues has been postponed to a later date.

In other news as the hockey world continues to turn, today marks the beginning of the 2022 World Junior Championship in Edmonton and Red Deer, Alberta.

The Devils have four prospects playing in the annual tournament: defenseman Luke Hughes of the USA, forward Alexander Holtz of Sweden, who was allowed by the Devils to participate in this year’s tournament after already playing in six NHL games in 2021-22, Shakir Mukhamadullin of Russia and goaltender Jakub Malek of Czechia.

We will have a post up later tonight/early tomorrow morning recapping the first day of action at the 2022 WJC.

Devils Acquire Goalie Gillies

The Devils announced this afternoon via a press release from their PR team that they have acquired goaltender Jon Gillies from the St. Louis Blues for future considerations.

The Devils are in dire need of some goaltending due to injuries, illness and inexperience at the NHL level.

With Jonathan Bernier going on the Injured Reserve this week with an apparent hip injury that has been nagging him this season and Mackenzie Blackwood being under the weather (with something non-COVID related as was mentioned by head coach Lindy Ruff in yesterday’s postgame press conference in Philadelphia), but needing to play anyway.

When you add to that that Nico Daws and Akira Schmid – two rookie callups – are very young and could risk having some of their professional development being derailed due to being thrown into a situation that they are simply not ready for.

And when you further factor in the other problems that have sunk the Devils in the last few seasons in the crease, from Cory Schneider’s injuries that effectively killed his status as an NHL-level netminder to Corey Crawford’s sudden retirement before even playing a game with New Jersey to Scott Wedgewood being claimed off of waivers by the Arizona Coyotes.

 Now you have a situation where the Devils needed to bring in a relatively more experienced goalie.

Enter Gillies. The Concord, New Hampshire native will report to the Devils immediately following the trade.

Gillies, a 27-year-old who played in the 2013 and 2014 World Junior Championship for the United States (winning gold in 2013 with Team USA) and played collegiately with Providence College might not have much NHL experience, just 13 games over four seasons with the Calgary Flames and Blues, according to the press release, but he is someone the Devils can afford to take a flier on.

He has spent the bulk of his pro career in the American Hockey League – playing with the Utica Comets last season (then an affiliate of the Vancouver Canucks). He had a 3-1-2 record with Utica last year to go with a 2.37 goals against average and a .902 save percentage. In total, over 169 AHL games, he is 73-83-29 with a 2.87 GAA and a .906 save percentage to go with nine shutouts according to the Devils’ PR team.

The press release notes that his NHL record is 4-5-1 with Calgary and St. Louis. At the NHL level, he has a 2.72 GAA and a .905 save percentage.

This season has seen him become quite the journeyman. He signed a one-year, two-way contract with the Blues on December 8, putting him on the St. Louis NHL roster.

But he had bounced around this year as well. In addition to his one start with the Blues in the NHL, he made one start for the Maine Mariners of the ECHL, three starts for the Providence Bruins of the AHL and one start for the Lehigh Valley Phantoms of the AHL.

For those keeping track, that is six games for four teams over three leagues this season. At the AHL level, he is 3-1-0 with a 1.76 GAA and a .939 save percentage. In his lone NHL games for the Blues, he stopped 36 of 39 shots faced according to the press release on December 12 against the Anaheim Ducks – a 3-2 Blues overtime loss.

Gillies is big, standing 6-foot, 6-inches and weighing 225-pounds He was the Flames’ third-round pick (75th overall) in the 2012 NHL Draft.