In a true gesture of class the New Jersey Devils scrambled to acquire a Seventh Round draft pick to take Anthony Brodeur, the son of the winningest goaltender in NHL history and the man who is more responsible for the franchise’s success than anybody else. It was a touching moment as a father announced the selection of his son and reaffirmed the respect Lou Lamoriello commands as the man who runs the organization.
But it wasn’t the biggest storyline concerning the New Jersey Devils and their goaltenders at the 2013 NHL Draft. Not even close.
It didn’t shake the world, but the Devils’ acquisition of Vancouver Canucks goaltender Cory Schneider made waves in the cultish realm that is the Hockey world. It was the biggest swap of the day, the 27-year-old puckstopper in exchange for the ninth overall pick. The implications loom large, and this is yet another crafty deal to add to Lamoriello’s resume.
The end is near for Martin Brodeur, this much can’t be denied. He still has some quickness and spring in his legs to compete in the NHL, but at 41 can no longer assume the responsibilities of a full time starter. We saw that in 2013 when Brodeur missed a month with a back problem. After that the Devils were no longer a winning hockey team. Fans had to worry if this was a taste of life after Brodeur: a return to mediocrity after a 20-year run of three Stanley Cups and five finals appearances.
Enter Schneider, who immediately becomes the goalie of the future. Primarily serving as Roberto Luongo’s backup, the Massachusetts native has appeared in 98 regular season games over his five-year career, posting a Goals Against Average of 2.2. It has long been established that Schneider possesses the ability to start, but especially after allowing less than two goals a game in 33 starts two seasons ago.
But in front of him has stood Luongo, a Vezina trophy winner and Olympic Gold Medalist.
Even more than the credentials and resume, it was Luongo’s contract that drove Vancouver towards trading Schneider. They would have preferred to trade Luongo. They have tried, But his 12 year albatross of a deal is untradeable. a 34 year old with a contract that runs through 2022 is not an enticing asset for other teams. Knowing they were stuck with him, The Canucks got something for Cory Schneider instead of him eventually signing with another team in free agency. It was rumored that Edmonton offered a better package, but Vancouver brass was reluctant to trade Schneider within the division.
Now Schneider’s future has finally taken shape. He will most likely split the games with Brodeur next season, picking the future Hall-of Famer’s brain every step of the way. It is the perfect grooming period. Signing a backup with the hopes of starting him right away is risky business in the NHL. It didn’t work for the Blues and Jaroslav Halak or the Panthers and Scott Clemmensen. Schneider will be provided with a smooth transition period to learn under the tutelage of a true master in Brodeur for one or two years before taking the helm. He’ll get to play closer to his family, too. Schneider grew up in Massachusetts and played college hockey at Boston College.
New Jersey certainly could have used offense, and there was plenty available with the ninth pick. But prospects aren’t guaranteed to pan out. Schneider was more of a sure thing, and provides more stability in the foreseeable future.
Fans can exhale knowing the crease can be covered after Marty’s hangs ‘em up.
-With the pick they received from New Jersey, Vancouver selected Forward Bo Horvat of the Ontario Hockey League’s London Knights.
-The Devils will not select in the First Round next year. Following Ilya Kovalchuk’s original 17-year deal the league found the Devils guilty of collusion. As a penalty New Jersey had to forfeit a first rounder within four years. Next year will have to be the year because they’ve declined the past three drafts.