Monday’s Game at St. Louis Postponed

Merry Christmas everyone! If you are celebrating today, here’s hoping your Christmas Day is going well and you are spending time with family, friends and loved ones.

Unfortunately, some sobering news about the world outside of us as Sam Kasan wrote on the Devils’ official blog – a post that appeared on the team’s app – that the NHL has postponed the Monday night game between the Devils and the hometown St. Louis Blues on December 27.

Kasan wrote that the NHL wants to “analyze League-wide results and to assess Clubs’ readiness to play” as he quoted from a “league release.”

The makeup date is to be determined, but the NHL now has the two-week former-Olympic break in February to work with as it was announced this past week that the NHL will not be participating in the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, China. The league will instead use that period to make up games that have been previously postponed due to COVID-19 precautions.

According to Kasan, NHL clubs “are permitted to return to practice on Dec. 26 and any further updates on the league’s return to play will be provided by “the end of day on Sunday.””

So far, the Devils game at the Buffalo Sabres on December 29 – their next scheduled game – is still on. That could, of course, change by Sunday evening.

The 2022 World Junior Championship, slated to begin on Sunday as well, will be proceeding as scheduled. Fan attendance at Rogers Place in Edmonton and WP Centrium in Red Deer will be at about 50-percent capacity, but things should be good to go for the time being.

Tomorrow will see plenty of action as Finland will face Germany and the Czechs will take on Canada in Group A in Edmonton while Russia and Sweden and the USA and Slovakia will faceoff with each other in Group B action in Red Deer.

We will have coverage here, although the post will go up late as the games are Alberta time and, thus will get done after midnight or so here on the East Coast.

Again, a merry Christmas to everyone!

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.