The Devils are slated to start Cory Schneider a 19th straight time, and his numbers have been subpar this season. Coincidence? (Getty Images)
Finally, Cory Schneider will become an unchallenged NHL starter - and now he'll make starter's money too. When Schneider's new seven-year contract starts in 2015-16, he'll be one of the 10 highest paid goalies. Here's why the Devils got a great deal.
Cory Schneider has never played more than 45 games in an NHL season. But starting in 2015-16, he'll be one of eight (possibly nine) NHL goalies who will make at least $6 million against the cap.
Wednesday, shortly after the Kane/Toews signings were announced, the New Jersey Devils signed Schneider to a seven-year extension, in which he'll get paid $6 million against the cap. Schneider could have become UFA eligible after 2014-15 and when you consider what he got in relation to other goalies, this deal is an absolute steal for the New Jersey Devils.
Lou Lamoriello's magic. Go figure.
Schneider will make $4 million against the cap for one more season before his new deal kicks in. Is $6 million worth it for a goalie who has yet to get a starter's workload over a full season? Consider this:
• Since he entered the NHL full-time in 2010-11, Cory Schneider's cumulative .928 save percentage is the best in the NHL. Tuukka Rask has a .927 mark, Henrik Lundqvist is at .925, Tim Thomas at .923 and Roberto Luongo (and Ben Bishop) at .921. Rask and Lundqvist have higher cap hits and, if you remove the bogus years at the end of Luongo's old contract, he would average more, too. Schneider's contract bodes well for Bishop, who has one season remaining on his deal until he becomes a UFA.
• Also since 2010-11, Schneider has the best GAA in the NHL at 2.05. Jonathan Quick is at 2.14, Rask at 2.15 and Lundqvist at 2.17.
The question with Schneider right now isn't if he can post consistently excellent numbers, but if he can handle a full starter's workload. It's not his fault that he hasn't played more than 45 games yet. In Vancouver, he was playing "No. 1-not-No.1" with Luongo and then when Schneider was traded to New Jersey, he had to share the net with aged veteran Martin Brodeur. Can Schneider handle more than a 45-game workload? There's no reason to believe why not.
That's what makes this deal a steal for the Devils. Unlike Bishop, Schneider hasn't been a Vezina finalist, largely because he hasn't played enough games in one season. He does have a William Jennings Trophy to his name, though, earned in 2010-11 when he played 25 games.
You could easily argue that Schneider is actually one of the top four or five goalies in the NHL today. His numbers certainly suggest he's at least that good and by the time this new contract expires, he may have the awards to back it up too.
Because now, for the first time ever, he'll have the opportunity to win those awards. Schneider has waited a long time to become an unchallenged No. 1 netminder in the NHL and now he's finally getting it.
New Jersey stands to greatly benefit - and, comparatively, they aren't even paying out that much to get it.