Which New Jersey Devils Would You Consider “Untouchable?”

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Mar 17, 2015; Newark, NJ, USA; New Jersey Devils goalie Cory Schneider (35) makes save during the first period against the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Jim O

Cory Schneider

by Phil DeHaven

To say that having a solid starting goaltender is important for an NHL team is would be an understatement, but this is especially true when looking at the New Jersey Devils. This is a team known for having strong goaltending in a system that stresses defense first. The retirement (or parting ways with the Devils) of legend and future hockey hall-of-fame goalie Martin Brodeur was an afterthought for most at the 2013 NHL Entry-Level Draft in Newark, that is except for GM Lou Lamoriello.

That was when Lamoriello acquired now 28-year old goaltender Cory Schneider to be the so called “heir” to the starting goalie spot that was occupied by Brodeur for the prior 19 years. Since being brought in to New Jersey he has been nothing short of spectacular as is just what Lamoriello was hoping he would be. As a New Jersey Devil, Schneider has started in just a hair over 100 games and has recorded a .926 SV% with a 2.08 GAA.

He has set career milestones in both games started (previously 43) and wins (previously 20) this season and could’ve had a legitimate shot at winning the Vezina trophy if he had a better team in front of him. Schneider is the first player I’d consider to be “untouchable” for a variety of reasons, but perhaps the biggest reason is due to the Devils “defense first” approach. Schneider’s importance to the Devils (if not evident before) was made public indirectly through a quote from GM Lou Lamoriello on the Devils search for their next head coach.

"“We certainly will look at somebody within the framework of the system that we play – defense first,” Lamoriello said."

The organization’s defense first philosophy means Schneider cannot and will not be moved anytime soon. He has the most wins and shutouts in a season by a Devils goalie not named Martin Brodeur and is the right piece needed to support a young defense. He has shown time and time again since coming to New Jersey that he can “stand on his head” and steal wins at times when the offense isn’t there. He will be crucial to the Devils transition and is part of the reason the Devils might not be too far away from turning it around as many fans think.

Next: An Underrated Veteran