By Trevor Jahnke
#35 – Cory Schneider – Goaltender
2013 Season Stats
Games Played: 30
Goals Against Average: 2.11
Save Percentage: .927%
Season Grade: B+
Here on day No. 3 of our player previews, we take an in-depth look at the biggest new player to wear the red and black, Cory Schneider. The 27-year-old goalie brought the Devils Army to their feet when Gary Bettman announced that NJ had traded their first round pick for the coveted rising star on June 30. Yes, even HE couldn’t ruin the mood during that moment. In a flash, it became clear that the Devils made steps to securing their future in between the pipes while simultaneously ensuring that the collapse that occurred during Martin Brodeur’s injury last season would not be repeated. While it had rendered everyone’s carefully thought-out draft predictions pretty useless, it became overwhelmingly clear by the chants of “Cor-y Schnei-der” that the fans approved.
Schneider has been in the NHL since the 2008-09 season when he filled in for 8 games and 2 games in 2009-10. He became the Canucks’ backup goalie for 2010-11. Since then, his GAA and save percentage have peaked at 2.23 and .927%, respectively. Many people in Vancouver wanted him to be the team’s No. 1 goaltender and there was much debate over which goalie the team should stick with and which goalie should be traded. It looked like Roberto Luongo was going elsewhere this offseason and Schneider was going to be the future of the Canucks.
Schneider’s butterfly style is helped by his talent to get into position quickly, which also aids his rebound control. His one vice is his difficulty to handle the puck behind the net, but than again that might be unfair because we’re all used to the puck handling capability of Brodeur. Comparing those two is like comparing Carmelo Anthony’s shot-blocking to Shaquille O’Neal’s. Although he was mainly known as the backup for Vancouver prior to last season, he actually played 10 more games than Luongo this past season and seemed to be the number one in the eyes of then Vancouver head coach Alain Vigneault.
Schneider was 4th in the league in save percentage, 8th in the league in GAA, but was 17th in the league in wins. He was, however, tied for 1st in the league in shutouts with 5. I feel that after years of beginning games on the bench and filling in whenever the starting goalie needed a break, he is more than ready to become a team’s top netminder.
It’s unclear how Brodeur and Schneider will split the upcoming season, but seeing that the Devils will have 21 back-to-back games this season, it stands to reason that we will be seeing a lot of both goalies this year. Since both goalies are used to being part of a tandem goaltending system the past few years, they should have no trouble dividing the time.
This season will hopefully provide a glimpse into the Devils future goaltender situation. Brodeur’s probably going to retire in a year or two, so it’ll be great to know that he’s leaving his crease in Schneider’s capable hands.
It’s hard to predict how well Schneider will perform this season without knowing how he and Brodeur will split the games but I’d be hard pressed to think that Cory will start less than 35 games this season.
The Devils want to prepare him to take Brodeur’s throne. I predict that he’ll start around 38 games this season, and I believe that he will win 28 of those games. He will have a GAA between 2.05 and 2.13, and his save percentage will be between .895 and .913. I predict that this will be start of something big for the Devils and Schneider, hopefully for many years to come.
In case you missed them, here are the first two parts of the series: