The New Jersey Devils today announced the re-signing of goaltender Cory Schneider to a seven-year, $42 million contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s an annual cap hit of $6 million, comparable to that of Chicago’s Corey Crawford and Vancouver’s Ryan Miller, while just under Montreal’s Carey Price ($6.5 million) and Carolina’s Cam Ward ($6.3 million).
Critics will argue the Devils overpaid Schneider, and there’s some validity to that claim. He’s only been an NHL starter for two seasons, both in the shadow of established veterans (Roberto Luongo in Vancouver during the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season, Martin Brodeur last season with the Devils.
While Schneider’s won-loss record last season was average (16-15-12 in 45 games), it was more a reflection of the team in front of him than of his overall performance. His goals-against average was a stellar 1.97 while his save percentage was a solid .921.
At 28, Schneider has established himself as an NHL starter, though it’ll be interesting to see how he handles a significantly-increased workload with the Devils going forward. Still, he has expressed a keenness for more playing time, and he’ll certainly get it in the coming years in New Jersey. He also has to deal with replacing a legend, as Brodeur was the Devils starter for nearly two decades, backstopping them to three Stanley Cup championships. Still, Devils fans seem to be handling that transition well, acknowledging that Brodeur no longer has it as a starting goalie while Schneider is entering his playing prime.
The contract is expensive, but that’s what was necessary to keep Schneider with the Devils. He was slated for unrestricted free agency next summer and would’ve received at least that much on the open market.