When talking about the league’s top goaltenders, names like Carey Price, Pekka Rinne, Henrik Lundqvist, Braden Holtby, Marc-Andre Fleury, and even Devan Dubnyk will be mentioned.
There is no doubt that the above-mentioned masked men deserve all the praise they have been getting this season. These netminders have all had terrific years, have posted numbers in the top-10 when it comes to the goaltending categories, and either have their team in a playoff spot or fighting for one.
However, there is one netminder that is not getting the attention he deserves. Maybe it is because his team will not be in the playoffs or because the guy he replaced between the pipes full-time is one of the greatest goaltenders of all time.
That’s right, folks. New Jersey Devils netminder Cory Schneider should be getting some praise for the way he has played for his hockey club this season. Sure, the team is going to miss the postseason for the third straight year, but it certainly will not be because of the play of Schneider.
Schneider, 29, is 26-25-7 with a 2.16 goals-against average (fifth in the league), a .929 save percentage (second in the league), and five shutouts (seventh in the league). Those are some of the best numbers in the league, despite playing on a team that has a weaker defense than they’ve had in a very long time.
One reason why Schneider has played so well this season is because he knows that he is the team’s starting goaltender. When he was with the Vancouver Canucks, he had to fight for playing time with incumbent starter Roberto Luongo.
Fighting for playing time with another netminder who has more experience and one who is expected to be the number one guy probably frustrated Schneider. With the Canucks, he had played very well when asked to and yet, really did not get between the pipes all that often because of Luongo.
With the Devils, he no longer has to worry about that since Martin Brodeur left. With Broduer out of the picture, Schneider is the number one man and with a long-term deal and his terrific play this season, will have the net in New Jersey for several years to come.
Schneider has also played well this season because of the technical side of his game. He is a netminder that keeps things compact, does not make many flashy moves, and is a goaltender that is usually in good position for not only the first shot, but also the second and third shots.
For a young Devils’ defensive corps, the technical side of his game has been a big help to them. He controls his rebounds, does a good job of pouncing on pucks to give his team a rest, and directs traffic in front of his net.
Schneider is playing well this season because he knows that his teammates love having him and that they support him when he is in net. In an article by Devils’ beat writer Rich Chere of The Star-Ledger and NJ.com, forward Travis Zajac expressed his thankfulness for the team having Schenider as their netminder.
He’s been outstanding for us. He’s kept us in a lot of games and won us a lot of games. Thankfully we’ve got him for a while on this team.
The work ethic he puts in and the competitiveness he has in practice reminds me of Marty (Brodeur) back there. He has that same mentality. I think that’s what makes goalies so good.
In that same article, Devils’ veteran forward Scott Gomez shared the same sentiment when it comes to his goaltender.
It obviously starts with Schneids. This guy has got to be top 10 in the league now. He doesn’t get enough credit.
The Devils may not be a playoff team this year, but there is no doubt that Schneider is the main reason why the Devils were somewhat competitive this year and is clearly his team’s best player.
It is time for the rest of the league to jump on board and give him the credit that he deserves.