Cory Schneider, Devils History

Former Devils’ Cory Schneider’s Prime Was Better Than You Think

On June 30, 2013, the New Jersey Devils were in the midst of a transition. After losing in the Stanley Cup Final in 2012, the team lost their beloved captain Zach Parise to free agency, finishing second-to-last in the Eastern Conference in 2012-13, and had their superstar Ilya Kovalchuk shockingly retire with 12 years left on his contract. Heading into the draft that summer, New Jersey was also looking to find the eventual successor to soon-to-be Hall of Fame goaltender Martin Brodeur. Devils’ general manager Lou Lamoriello was able to do just that by trading the ninth overall selection to the Vancouver Canucks for Cory Schneider.

Goalie Cory Schneider
New Jersey traded the number nine overall pick in the 2013 NHL Draft for Cory Schneider (Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)

Schneider would go on to play for the Garden State club for seven seasons. During that time, the team struggled a lot to not only win but to give the netminder any support either on the back end or in terms of scoring. They made the playoffs just one time when Schneider was there and he was the goalie in the only win New Jersey got in their Round 1 defeat to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Marblehead, Massachusetts native also struggled with injuries and inconsistent play towards the end of his time with the team. Most fans will look back and say that Schneider wasn’t worth trading for because of the lack of overall success and when you look at who ended up becoming the first-round pick that the Devils traded.

Related: Revisiting the Cory Schneider – Bo Horvat Trade

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However, when you take a deep dive into what Schneider accomplished in his prime in New Jersey, it is very clear that he was one of the more consistent goalies out there. He kept the team in games day in and day out and deserved a lot more credit than he got. It’s time to shed more light on what No. 35 did during his time as a Devil.

Schneider’s Good Years Were Really Good

From Schneider’s first season in 2013-14 to the end of 2016-17, he was an absolute rock between the pipes for the Devils. While the wins weren’t there, the other stats tell a different story. In those four seasons, he averaged a .919 save percentage (SV%) and a 2.32 goals-against average (GAA). During that span, only two goalies finished with a higher SV% or GAA than Schneider. That goes to show you just how good his prime was.

Schneider’s stats recognized him for his tremendous ability and he played great enough to be recognized at the NHL and international levels. In 2016, he was named to his first All-Star Game in which at the time of the event in the Metropolitan Division, was third in wins (17), fourth in SV% (.927), second in GAA (2.06), tied for first in shutouts (three) and first in games played (34). At the international level, he got the opportunity to be a part of Team USA in the most recent World Cup of Hockey back in 2016. Although he only played in one period of the entire tournament, he stopped all seven shots he faced and even got attention for his very, “patriotic” goalie setup.

Schneider’s legendary Red, White, and Blue setup for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.

Sticking with the international angle, in the offseason of 2019, Schneider once again got the chance to represent his country by suiting up for them at the IIHF World Championship in which he posted a 3-3 record with a 2.49 GAA and a .920 SV%. It was the first time he truly got significant playing time on that stage. While the United States did not end up with a medal that year, it at least showed some flashes of talent that Schneider still possessed even with his skills declining by that time.

Schneider’s Legacy in the Garden State

There was a period where Schneider was the bright spot in a tough stretch of years in New Jersey. He was what people came to watch on a night-to-night basis. While they didn’t win as much as we all wanted them to, the man between the pipes put on a show most games and was truly one of the better goalies in those four years of his prime. He will go down as the second-greatest goalie (for now) in franchise history and his career numbers back that up. He finished his time with the Devils with the franchise’s best career SV% (.915), is third in wins (115, which is just three behind Chris Terreri) and second in shutouts (17, which is just 107 behind Brodeur).

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Although he did have his fair share of really bad performances and injuries, which ultimately led to his decline and buyout from the team in 2020, make no mistake about it the man they called “Schneids” was a high-quality goaltender and one of the best the organization has ever had.

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