The New Jersey Devils were one of the teams to announce during the start of training camp that a player in their organization was unvaccinated, and today Mackenzie Blackwood confirmed that it was him. When speaking with media including Greg Wyshynski of ESPN, Blackwood explained that he hasn’t decided whether or not he will be vaccinated in the future, but has “a couple of health concerns and health reasons” why he has not received it yet.
Though Blackwood will be held to stricter protocols because of his status, the Devils won’t be forced to go without him at the start of the season like some other teams with unvaccinated players. New Jersey is not scheduled to travel to Canada until a December 3 game against the Winnipeg Jets, meaning there would still be time for the young goaltender to receive a league-approved vaccine in time to accompany them on the road trip if he chooses to do so. Blackwood was one of the players to test positive for Coronavirus earlier this year, missing several games.
- The Arizona Coyotes have hired David Oliver and Scott Pellerin as pro scouts, adding to a scouting department that has experienced a complete overhaul since general manager Bill Armstrong took over the front office. Oliver has spent the last several years as an assistant coach with the New York Rangers, and before that worked for years with the Colorado Avalanche organization. Pellerin meanwhile was previously the Toronto Maple Leafs’ director of player development and had been with the club for seven years.
- While Kirby Dach is busy preparing for an important season with the Chicago Blackhawks, little brother Colton Dach is heading to a new team in the WHL. The 18-year-old forward, who was picked 62nd overall by the Blackhawks this year, has been traded from the Saskatoon Blades to the Kelowna Rockets. Colton Dach has not yet signed his entry-level with the Blackhawks, but is another big-bodied two-way player that has a legitimate future in the middle of the ice. He had 11 goals and 20 points in 20 games for Saskatoon last season, but will try to build on that this time around in Kelowna.