Will Wedgewood Play This Weekend?
ALBANY, NY – The Albany Devils already have the top ranked defense in the AHL and they are about to ease the workload for one of the top ranked goaltenders in the league.
Scott Wedgewood, who has been sidelined since before the start of the season with an ankle sprain, is ready to make his return this weekend. The Devils aren’t in need of a savior between the pipes thanks to Yann Danis‘ remarkable play during the first quarter of the season.
Even though Danis leads the league with 14 wins and is second with a 1.67 save percentage, he will likely share responsibilities now that Wedgewood, a 2010 third round draft pick, is ready to go.
“Yann has been unbelievable and will continue to be,” said Head Coach Rick Kowalsky. “Wedge has looked good in practice as well. We have to get him games. He is certainly a prospect in this organization and it’s about development.”
Wedgewood’s development isn’t the only factor playing into the decision. The season picks up after the Holiday Break with more back-to-back games and back-to-back-to-back sets. Danis already leads the league for games played (19) and minutes (1151:30).
“We are going to ease him in slowly here,” Kowalsky said of the plan for Wedgewood. “We don’t have three-in-threes, but we do have some travel. We are definitely going to get him some games before the break.”
Wedgewood was injured when a teammate fell on his ankle during Albany’s training camp in early October. His recovery has been slow moving, but he was finally able to get into some game action last weekend in the ECHL.
New Jersey reassigned the netminder from Albany to Adirondack last Friday and Wedgwood made 39 saves in a 5-2 victory. It was his first game in the ECHL since the 2012-13 season.
“I got scored on 11 seconds in, so it was a little bit of a mental test to start the season off, which was good for me,” Wedgewood said. “Over the last couple years and as a veteran guy now, I’ve taken a couple steps forward and have that demeanor and can control my emotions a little bit better. So that and getting the win helped and I got situation shots in different areas.”
Kowalsky or Wedgewood did not indicated which of the two games this weekend he would play. The Devils host the Syracuse Crunch Friday at 7 pm and then travel to face the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins Saturday at 7:05 pm.
Regardless, Wedgewood is entering a situation where he has a strong set of defenseman and forwards in front of him. He isn’t expected to have to steal games because the Devils, as a whole, have proven they can skate with any team in the league.
“The guys have done really well in front of Yann right now,” Wedgewood said. “Watching games from the stands has been pretty impressive. The limited opportunities that other teams are getting. Obviously, Yann has been doing really well in situations he’s faced. For me, I don’t know if I want a six shot game, but you have confidence in what the team is doing and that will be a little easier on my mind.”
“There shouldn’t be any pressure,” Kowalsky said. “If we continue to play the way we played in front of Yann, it should be a smooth transition getting him back in the lineup.”
The 23-year-old has appeared in 77 career AHL games, going 31-30-9 with a 2.62 goals-against average and a .900 save percentage. Last season, Wedgewood played 36 games and was 13-14-6 with a 2.74 goals-against average and a .903 save percentage.