Schneider's Struggles Worrisome for the Devils
By Patrick Hoffman
With the New Jersey Devils barely hanging on to the second wild card in the extremely tight Eastern Conference (As of March 21, 2018), the fact that their starting goaltender Corey Schneider has struggled this season is something that should worry Devils' fans.
While Schneider, 32, missed some time this season with various groin and hip injuries, he as not been great when healthy. In fact, it could even be said that he really has not looked all that comfortable between the pipes this year.
In 39 games this season (As of March 21, 2018), Schneider is 17-15-6 with a 2.88 goals against average, a .909 save percentage, and 1 shutout. For Schneider, these numbers closely resemble what he did last season, which is not good.
As of this writing (March 21), the Marblehead, MA native is winless in his last five starts. In those five starts, he has allowed 16 goals and his save percentages in those games are all below .900.
What's alarming about that last stat is in these games, he has not exactly faced a lot of shots. He has faced shot totals of 20, 29, 27, 24, and 14, numbers that are not high, which means that the save percentages with those totals are sub-par to say the least.
What should be worrisome for Devils' fans is that this is the second straight season in which Schneider's numbers have not been close to what he has done in his career. Career wise, Schneider has a 2.35 goals against average and a .920 save percentage, which means he is not performing to a level that he is normally capable of.
What should also worry Devil fans is should the team make the postseason, who do they go with in goal? Do they go with their supposed starter Schneider or do they role the dice with backup Keith Kinkaid?
When Schneider was out, Kinkaid, 28, performed admirably in his absence. On the season (As of March 21), Schneider is 19-10-2 with a 2.90 goals against average, a .908 save percentage and one shutout.
Yes, the goals against average is high and yes, the save percentage is not great, but unlike Schneider, Kinkaid has actually been somewhat more consistent this season. If the team does make the playoffs this year, consistency between the pipes is going to be a huge factor.
It is not set in stone that this team will make the postseason dance. If the Devils manage to get one, Schneider will either have to play a lot better than he is now or he will find himself on the bench during the most important and exciting time of year.
Previously, Patrick has covered the NHL for Sportsnet.ca, Kukla’s Korner, Spector’s Hockey, About.com, NHL Network Radio blog, TheHockeyNews.com, The Fourth Period, Stan Fischler’s “The Fischler Report”, as well as a slew of others.