Devils Need A Healthy Schneider in order To Have Success
By Patrick Hoffman
When New Jersey Devils' goaltender Cory Schneider was first acquired by the club from the Vancouver Canucks, he was everything the team needed him to be.
He was consistent, posted good numbers, kept the team in many games that they should not have been in, and was even an All-Star (2016). His first three seasons between the pipes for the Devils were simply outstanding:
2013-14: 17-9-4; 2.11 GAA; .921 save percentage; 3 shutouts
2014-15: 26-31-9; 2.26 GAA; .925 save percentage; 5 shutouts
2015-16: 27-25-6; 2.15 GAA; .924 save percentage; 4 shutouts
These are unbelievable numbers despite playing behind some pretty garbage hockey teams. In fact, Schneider's play was so good that much of the fan bases fears about what the team's goaltending would be like after the Hall of Fame Brodeur left were significantly lessened.
With that said, however, his last two seasons have been rocky. His play has been inconsistent, his numbers are bloated, his number of shutouts decreased, and injuries have slowly crept in.
This is where the concern is now. It was reported yesterday that Schneids may miss the start of the upcoming season as he is still recovering from the hip surgery he had in May. The article states that the recovery is normally five months, which would bring us to the beginning of October, right around when the season starts.
While it is nice that the team has both Keith Kinkaid and Eddie Lack, they clearly do not bring to the table what Schneids normally does. When Kinkaid struggled in this year's postseason in the first round against the Tampa Bay Lightning, Schneider was put back in between the pipes and played extremely well in three games.
His team may have lost the series, but it certainly was not his fault as he posted a 1.78 GAA and a .950 save percentage. Those are the numbers we have come to expect from the Marblehead, MA native.
While the team's GM Ray Shero said they are not going to rush Schneider back, they will need to get him back in net sooner rather than later if they want to make the playoffs for the second straight year. He may have struggled in his last two seasons, but for this team to have success both now and in the future, they need Schneider in goal to be the solution.
Hopefully when Schneider gets healthy, he'll come back and play like the All-Star. If he comes back and tries to fight through an injury like he did last season, that could be a major problem as the club will need to rely on Kinkaid and Lack to get this team into the playoffs.
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.