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New Jersey Devils

Mackenzie Blackwood Confirmed as Devils Lone Unvaccinated Player

On Tuesday, it was confirmed that the New Jersey Devils unvaccinated player is their starting netminder in Mackenzie Blackwood.

In recent days, it was known that there was a lone player on the New Jersey Devils who was unvaccinated, but that player had remained anonymous. That changed today when it was confirmed that the unvaccinated player was none other than their starting netminder, Mackenzie Blackwood.

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Blackwood, 24, is a huge part of this Devils team and has shown promise despite inconsistent play through his first three seasons in the NHL. The good news here for Devils fans that want him to be able to suit up for every game is that he has not yet ruled out getting the vaccine, however, he is still unsure whether or not he will get it.

“I have a couple of health concerns, health reasons why I’m working through it a little slower,” Blackwood told reporters on Tuesday. “I just want to check off a couple of boxes and not rush to do it.”

Mackenzie Blackwood New Jersey Devils

Hopefully for the Devils sake, he decides to get the shot, as if not they would not have him for any games they play in north of the border this season. Unfortunately, the situation has gained plenty of attention, as has other unvaccinated players throughout the league. Notable ones are Josh Archibald of the Edmonton Oilers and Tyler Bertuzzi of the Detroit Red Wings, who have caused somewhat of a media circus for their respective teams due to their personal choice. Blackwood made it clear that the negative headlines were not his intention.

“I’m not trying to be a distraction while I work through it,” Blackwood explained. “I’m lucky to have great teammates who support you no matter what, whether they agree or disagree with what’s going on. I’m really thankful that I have support around me. Everyone’s been great in allowing me to be a little bit slower working through it than they have, but I’m fortunate they’re very understanding and patient.

“I have not decided one way or the other that I’m absolutely not doing it … I’m taking a little bit of extra time making sure that things are good before I do.”

Blackwood is currently in the second year of a contract that carries an AAV of $2.8 million. However, if he were to miss time due to being unvaccinated, he would not be paid for the games he is forced to miss due to both league and government protocols. It will be interesting to see whether or not he chooses to get the vaccine before his team’s first game in Canada, which is set to take place on December 3.

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