Cory Schneider is the least of the New Jersey Devils’ problems


After getting off to a 3-0-0 start, the Devils have played their next 11 games to a record of 3-6-2. When things are going well, everyone is happy and positive. Then when things start to go downhill, the outlook on the team takes a drastic negative turn and blame is thrown around at a whim. One player who has been getting a ton of finger pointing is Devils’ goaltender Cory Schneider. No, Schneider is not Martin Brodeur and he never will be; no one will be. What Schneider is, is a terrific NHL starting goalie who any team would be lucky to have between the pipes for 65-70 games a season. Schneider has been one of the Devils’ best players this season, and the reason they’re not in the cellar of the conference.

If you look at Cory Schneider’s statistics this season, it’s easy to see why he gets complained about. His numbers are nothing to fawn over, but they are extremely misleading. He owns a GAA of 2.91 with a .906 SV%. Those are not good enough statistics for a goalie of his caliber, there is no denying that. Schneider also has given up the most goals in the league (38), but has played the most games (14) and faced the second most shots (403) only two behind Jonathan Quick. Purely looking at stats, Schneider has had a terrible season. This is why stats will never be the tell all when evaluating a player’s performance. Schneider has played way better than those numbers suggest.

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There are times when Schneider lets in a soft goal or makes a mistake playing the puck, but what goalie doesn’t? Nobody is perfect. He absolutely needs to clean that up. While everyone focuses on the few mistakes he makes, they are missing the plethora of huge saves Schneider is forced to make because of the porous defense in front of him. Game after game, Schneider is hung out to dry and he does all he can to keep the team in the game. He makes huge saves on breakaways, he stops people that are left alone in the slot, he does everything he can to bail out the sloppy team in front of him. Eventually, if you give NHL players enough quality chances, they are going to score on any goalie you put in front of them. Instead of crucifying Schneider for the limited number of mistakes this season, look at the reason he’s faced so many high quality scoring chances.

Another thing that doesn’t help Schneider is the injuries to the forward corps of the Devils. Injuries are nobody’s fault, but they have derailed this team. Mike Cammalleri, Martin Havlat, Adam Henrique and Ryane Clowe are all on the shelf due to various injuries and it has decimated the offense. That’s a top liner, two second liners and a third liner… 4/9 of the top three lines are hurt which will throw off any team. Early in the season, when healthy, the Devils were putting up outstanding offensive numbers. After all the injuries, the offense has fallen apart. Even when they are able to score goals, it’s late in games when the outcome is all but final. The Devils need Schneider to be more than perfect, and that’s just unreasonable. Every goalie in the league needs goal support, and Cory hasn’t got much as this season progresses.

The one huge area that’s making Schneider’s numbers look far worse than they are is the penalty kill. At even strength, Schneider has a .931 Sv% which is one of the best in the league for starting goalies. When the Devils are shorthanded, that SV% drops down to an abysmal .792 clip. This is where Schneider’s numbers get thrown way out of whack. The Devils’ penalty kill is the worst in the league with a 65.5% efficiency. They give up a power play goal against one out of every three times shorthanded which is astounding. There is no way Schneider can be held responsible for this inadequacy as the four killers in front of him have not been doing their job and leave Schneider to fend for himself. The penalty kill is slow and lifeless which leads to a ridiculous amount of wide open shots by some of the best players in the league. If the Devils even had an average penalty kill, Schneider’s numbers would be much more representative and the team would be in a much better position.

Cory Schneider, by no means, has been perfect this season. There are games he has played poorly and that happens. Every goaltender suffers an off night throughout the season. But to blame Schneider for the lack of success the Devils have had lately is unfair to him and the team. New Jersey has the worst penalty kill in the league, are sloppy with the puck in their own zone and have an All-Star team of injured forwards. Schneider is the least of the Devils’ problems.