Lou Lamoriello has done it again!
Once the dust settled on, arguably, the biggest move of the draft, the speculation started to swirl at about 3,000 miles per hour on how this trade would benefit the New Jersey Devils in the future. Personally, I think Lou has given us the answer to the biggest question Devils fans have had for a long time: What happens when Martin Brodeur retires? Answer: Cory Schneider.
Ever since Brodeur set the record for Most Career Wins in NHL History, people started to think, “Wow, he is getting old.” That was also followed by, “We don’t have anyone to seriously compete as a top goalie in the future.”
The Devils never really needed to go out and draft or sign a Top 5 goaltender because the Devils already had a potential Hall-of-Famer to begin with. Going into this year’s draft and offseason, a lot of fans knew that the Devils would need to make a move eventually to grab someone off the market before it is too late or else they would be scrambling to find a quality goalie. Rebuilding is never an option in Lou Lamoriello’s plans.
Enter Cory Schneider. Between 2010 and 2013, Schneider put up dazzling numbers as a backup to Roberto Luongo in Vancouver. His NHL totals feature a 55-26-8 record with a Goals Against Average of 2.20. At 27, he is still young enough to develop and improve over his temporary term at New Jersey that will amount to 2 years of his playing services. To top it all off, he has Martin Brodeur as his mentor for at least one more season.
The Devils aren’t allowed to negotiate with him this year for an extension due to CBA rules. Lou also isn’t known for negotiating a contract during the season so we may not know the verdict on Schneider until he is about to become a free agent, despite the possibility of Marty retiring at the end of next season.
Now another eerie situation is that if, hypothetically, Martin Brodeur retires at the expiration of his contract (the conclusion of the 2013-14 season) and Cory Schneider has a fantastic year as his replacement in 2014-15, and now Schneider wants a big contract that the Devils can’t afford. Now the Devils need to rely on AHL talent such as Keith Kinkaid or Scott Wedgewood. They very well could be The Answer, but then again maybe not. Now the Devils are left with no one.
I’m not saying that acquiring Cory Schneider was a bad move. I think it will keep the Devils vying for contention and in the hunt for another Stanley Cup Title. Devils fans will have to wait patiently and hope that Cory will love the NJ experience and will want to possibly take a pay cut to stay in Jersey.
Lou wants him around longer than his contract will allow and judging the reaction from the crowd at last night’s NHL Draft at the Prudential Center, he could be here to stay for a long time. He could turn out to be a very adequate replacement for Marty Brodeur.
He could be, dare I say, “The Answer”.