New Jersey Devils: 5 Players Who Could Fall out of Favor Before Season’s End

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY - FEBRUARY 08: Mirco Mueller #25 of the New Jersey Devils and the rest of the New Jersey Devils celebrate the shutout against the Los Angeles Kings at Prudential Center on February 08, 2020 in Newark, New Jersey.The New Jersey Devils defeated the Los Angeles Kings 3-0. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
NEWARK, NEW JERSEY - FEBRUARY 08: Mirco Mueller #25 of the New Jersey Devils and the rest of the New Jersey Devils celebrate the shutout against the Los Angeles Kings at Prudential Center on February 08, 2020 in Newark, New Jersey.The New Jersey Devils defeated the Los Angeles Kings 3-0. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)
(Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images) /

Ending up on this list is not how things were supposed to work out for Cory Schneider in 2019-20. At the end of last season, the veteran goaltender finally found his game after going an entire calendar year plus without a victory.

He finished 2018-2019 with a respectable 6-6-2 record in his last 14 appearances to go along with a .923 save percentage. He continued his good play into the spring at the IIHF World Championship, posting a .920 save percentage for the United States in six games. Finally, he capped it all off with a dominant 2019 preseason in which he appeared in 4 games and posted a 1.80 goals against average (GAA).

After all this, Schneider started the season in New Jersey with an 0-4-1 record in six appearances. This earned him a demotion to Binghamton on Nov. 19. The former Canuck improved his game in the AHL while he appeared in 14 games and posted a 2.71 GAA to go along with a .903 save percentage. He finally won his first NHL game this season on Tuesday night in Detroit after going 0-7-2 in his previous 11 appearances. With Domingue being dealt at the deadline, Schneider will have the opportunity to reassert his game at the NHL level for the remainder of the season. I would anticipate fellow goaltender MacKenzie Blackwood to get a majority of the starts the rest of the way, but Schneider will surely see some playing time in favorable matchups.

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The Devils will have a few different options with Schneider come the summertime. The one that seems most popular throughout the fanbase is a buyout. The Devils goaltender is owed $12 million over the final two years of his deal after this season concludes and he carries a cap-hit of $6 million AAV. According to the buyout tool on CapFriendly, the Devils would be on the books for an annual $2 million cap-penalty through 2023-2024 if they chose to execute a buyout this summer. On the flip side, Schneider could get his game together and be a mentor to Blackwood for the remainder of his contract in New Jersey. It will be interesting to see if ownership is willing to bite the bullet on a buyout or if the organization wants to give the veteran goaltender yet another chance going into 2020-2021.