What If New Jersey Devils Never Traded For Cory Schneider?

(Photo by Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images)
(Photo by Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images) /

On draft day 2013, the New Jersey Devils traded the number 9 pick to the Vancouver Canucks for goalie Cory Schneider. What if the Devils never made that move?

When looking back at the moments that changed the New Jersey Devils trajectory forever, we don’t often think of Cory Schneider. In recent years, we think of the Ilya Kovalchuk retirement, the Zach Parise snubbing and the Ray Shero hiring. We look back at the Taylor Hall trade and winning the most recent NHL Draft Lottery as franchise defining moments that change how everything happened from then on.

However, look at the Cory Schneider trade, and now think if that trade never happened. This New Jersey Devils team looks a lot different, no?

Let’s first keep this as a ground rule, if the Devils didn’t trade for Schneider, then let’s just assume they draft Bo Horvat. It makes life easier, and there is no chance we could know exactly who was on their draft board.

The Devils with Bo Horvat would be in an interesting spot. They probably elect to draft a different player in 2015, since they’d likely still be close to as bad if not worse without Schneider. Horvat scored 25 points in 2014-15, that wasn’t going to replace a really good goalie performance to the point they’d have a better pick. However, they’d likely try to draft a winger or a defenseman. So, let’s look at the defensemen and wingers taken directly after Zacha:

7. Ivan Provorov
8. Zach Werenski
9. Timo Meier
10. Mikko Rantanen

More from Pucks and Pitchforks

Not going to lie, that hurt to type out. No matter who Lou Lamoriello decided to choose, it would be a home run. Lou decided to reach for the center he wanted, but that wouldn’t be necessary if he had Horvat. So, now we’re looking at Horvat and, let’s say just since he was the direct pick after, Provorov instead of Schneider and Zacha.

The Schneider trade also came as a shock for Devils legend Martin Brodeur. He was a future Hall of Famer, and he was still on the team. He took the Devils to the Stanley Cup Finals just one years prior. It seems premature to find his replacement, even if he was on the wrong side of 40. It seemed like the Devils would treat Brodeur like he was Tom Brady. We all know it’s going to end one day, but he’s been so great for you, you allow him to choose when it ends. That’s not Lou. He went and got the replacement while the star was still there, and it was awkward.

The Devils spent one season splitting the season between Brodeur and Schneider. Again, maybe you don’t remember, but it was awkward. Brodeur was not good that season, sporting a .901 save percentage and 2.51 GAA. To give you an idea, Schneider had a better save percentage this past season.

Maybe, if the Devils don’t trade for Schneider then, then they wait until 2014. Then, Brodeur can try to be THE guy one more season, they’d push him to another 55-60 starts, he might get hurt or would just be worse than we’d all want from him, and we might be able to avoid that St. Louis Blues fiasco. That would have been great if that just never happened, and the second Brodeur retired he came back to join the team’s front office. It’s nice to have him now, but it was just weird seeing him work for another organization.

Now, the Devils are forced to figure out their goalie situation in 2014. This was the same offseason that Kovalchuk left. So basically, the Devils would have lost their star player and their franchise goalie in one fell swoop. That would stink, but maybe they could have changed the way things worked out.

Next. What If Zach Parise Never Left?. dark

Maybe Lou went the free agency route to sign a goalie. There were two big names that season; Ryan Miller and Jonas Hiller. Looking now, they could have taken a chance on Devan Dubnyk. There was even Chad Johnson and Al Montoya who could have carried the load for one season until Lou figured it out. Either way, there were options beyond even looking at the trade market. Who knows, maybe they trade for Roberto Luongo to replace Brodeur. How interesting would that be?

We could go into how Schneider stole points for the Devils in the three years after he came to New Jersey, and seeing how much worse the Devils would have been then, but that would mean possibly no Nico Hischier or Jack Hughes, and we don’t even want to pretend. Either way, you see here that the Schneider trade had long-standing impact.