New Jersey Devils: Cory Schneider faces a make or break season

Cory Schneider, New Jersey Devils (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Cory Schneider, New Jersey Devils (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

After battling injuries, Cory Schnieder must prove he can still be a quality first option for the New Jersey Devils over Mackenzie Blackwood.

The New Jersey Devils have made plenty of improvements this offseason with the likes of P.K. Subban to add to the blue line, and Wayne Simmonds adds a veteran presence to guys like Jack Hughes who will hopefully be the piece that pushes the Devils over the hill. With these acquisitions and signings, Ray Shero and the Devis want to send a message to the rest of the league that they are ready to make another playoff run.

The one obstacle that is holding the Devils back from being real contenders this season is there goaltending. Going into this season, the Devils have two options between Mackenzie Blackwood, who is still a very young player and has a lot of developing to do, or the long-tenured goalie Cory Schneider, who has been with the organization since the 2013-2014 season.

Although still young, Blackwood has looked reasonably stable as the goalie when filling in for an injured Schneider, starting in 21 games and boasting a .500 record with ten wins and ten losses each and had a GAA of 2.61 which is pretty impressive for the 22-year-old.  He is a solid backup goalie for now and he certainly will there to fill in as the everyday goalie if Schnieder can not play up to par. Blackwood has the tools to be a solid starter for the Devils but in due time. Last season we saw what he could do, he has shown flashes of the skill he possesses but throwing him in as the full-time starter may not be the best idea, especially when this team is ready to contend.

I believe going into this year, Schnieder will start as the starting goalie, but he will have a tiny window for error. Due to injury, Schnieder had only played in 26 games, and his stats played second fiddle to Blackwood as he had a record of six wins and thirteen losses, a GAA of 3.06 and a save percentage of .903 compared to Blackwood’s percentage of .918.

So why would the Devils want to start Schneider over Blackwood? First, I think the Devils want to see some fight out of Cory now that it seems that if he does not play up to the speed, he must be at, he will be pulled from his starting position possibly for good. With the Devils upgrading on defense with Simmonds and Subban, it could help Schnieder ease back into his role as starting goalie, hopefully facing fewer shots per game. As of right now, Schnieder has a chip on his shoulder and him proving that he can come back from injury and start the season off on a strong note can be enough to secure the number one spot for now.

dark. Next. New Jersey Devils: Make or break year for Pavel Zacha

Mackenzie has a lot to learn now, and luckily he has a veteran goalie in Schnieder to help him gain a little as he still grows into an everyday NHL player. As of right now, the job should belong to Schnider, but he is skating on fragile ice (Ba-dum-tss).