Aug 30, 2014, 3:06 PM EDT
New Jersey Devils fans will never ask “Marty who?,” but the job of trying to get the franchise back to the glory days once enjoyed with Martin Brodeur now rests firmly on the shoulders of Cory Schneider.
That won’t be easy as Brodeur led the Devils to Stanley Cup victories three times and won the Vezina Trophy four times.
“Marty’s legacy is what it is,” Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello told NHL.com. “Cory’s not here to replace Marty. Cory’s here to establish his own identity, which he has done, and go forward with that.”
Schneider, 28, signed a new seven-year, $42 million contract extension in July, which will take him through the 2021-22 season.
In his first season in New Jersey, Schneider went 16-15-12 while appearing in 45 games during the 2013-14 season. His 1.97 GAA ranked third in the league.
However, with the Devils lacking goal-scoring, they missed the playoffs for a second straight season after getting to the Stanley Cup final during the 2011-12 season. New Jersey ranked 29th in 5-on-5 goals-for last season ahead of only Buffalo.
Schneider has been waiting for this opportunity since entering the league during the 2008-09 season and will likely be the franchise’s starting goaltender for many years to come.
He’s more than capable of handling the duties of a 60-plus games a season and considering what it cost Lamoriello to land him (a first round pick in 2013) Schneider is a steal.
This coming season Schneider won’t have the safety net of Brodeur, 42, to help him out if things go sideways. Rookie Keith Kinkaid, 25, is pencilled in to be Schneider’s backup in 2014-15.
The pressure is on Schneider to prove he can handle the opportunity he’s been waiting for for six seasons. If he can’t handle the duties expected of a No. 1, it’ll be a third straight season outside the playoff picture in New Jersey.
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Nine points since joining Florida.
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“In the middle of the ice in our system, it’s a lot of work.”
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