Giving the Devil His Due

Cory Schneider trade rumors

When the hockey world saw Lou Lamoriello execute the steal of the century when he traded the Devils’ first round pick in the 2013 NHL Draft to Vancouver in exchange for goaltender Cory Schneider, it signaled that times were changing in the Garden State. That season, Martin Brodeur and Cory Schneider split the work load for the Devils, but it seemed as if the team struggled with the constant juggling of net minders.

Schneider was arguably the better of the two goalies during the 2013-2014 season and many believed he was the man who gave the Devils the best chance to win night in and night out, with Brodeur’s aging play in net. While Schneider’s 16-15-12 record in 45 games will not jump off the page at most, his 1.97 goals-against average will, which was third best in the entire league last season. In most games Schneider played, he got little to no goal support from the team in front of him, so many of those games in his first season as a Devil can be misleading. On many of those nights, Schneider either was the difference in a Devils win, or having given up one goal and the team’s lack of offense, was on the short end of a loss. Always though, Schneider showed his team first mentality stating that he is ultimately the one who needs to backstop the team to wins.

As the offseason would come, it would become clear that Brodeur’s days were indeed over in New Jersey, and the end of an era had finally arrived. But who do you choose to take the mantle from arguably the best goaltender in NHL history, and the franchise player from a team built on a defense and goaltending first mentality? You choose a player who has not yet proven himself and a player who has had to pay his dues, and that man was Schneider.

Just last week, the New Jersey Devils signed Schneider to a seven year, $42 million contract extension that would go into effect after the 2014-2015 season, effectively ensuring the Devils Schneider’s work through the 2021-2022 season. There is also a no-trade clause statute as part of the new deal. The fact that Lamoriello did not wait for Schneider to become a free agent after the upcoming season shows that as the NHL moves forward, perhaps now Lamoriello’s ways are as well. On the other end, Schneider was very smart to take a deal such as this, as he knew he would have a spot in NJ, and that there would be no other goalie the organization could bring in that would challenge him for the number one spot.

In terms of the money, the deal could not work out better for the Devils, and fans should be thrilled to lock up Schneider’s services for this amount for this many years. Looking around the league, other top name goalies such as Jonathan Quick and Henrik Lundqvist, both who have long term deals with their respective teams, are under similar contracts. Quick is currently under a ten year, $58 million contract with the Los Angeles Kings, while Lundqvist is serving a seven year, $59 million dollar contract for the rival New York Rangers. Not too shabby in comparison for Schneider’s deal for the two best goalies in the NHL the past few years.

The biggest factor that will be telling is that the upcoming 2014-2015 season is that it will be Schneider’s first as the starting goaltender for an NHL team. While he was in Vancouver, he played second fiddle to Roberto Luongo, and once coming to the Devils, it still felt as if he had the backseat to Brodeur. Schneider is primed to prove himself in the NHL, and he is ready for the challenge as displayed by his abilities last season as a Devil.

The Devils are Schneider’s team now. The slate is wiped clean, there are no more records, no more Vezinas, no more Stanley Cups. Schneider is here to carve out his own history, and fans should not expect him to fill the skates of Brodeur, as no one can, but to create his own legacy.

Peter Rossi

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