Mike Morreale recently had a column up on NHL.com that addressed some concerns Devils fans may have had about goaltender Cory Schneider.
According to Morreale, Schneider, “had surgery for torn cartilage in his left hip May 1, was given a five-month recovery period and remains on that timetable.” Those five months would take him to October 1, five days before the Devils’ opener in Sweden against the Oilers.
Morreale spoke with GM Ray Shero at Devils Development Camp and he said “(w)hether it’s September or October, we are not going to rush Cory. We have Keith Kinkaid, and that’s why we re-signed Eddie Lack.” He followed that by saying that the team will get more updates through the summer months.
Morreale noted that Taylor Hall (torn ligaments in his left hand) and Nico Hischier (“who had his left wrist immobilized for four weeks in May” due to an injury) “should be ready for camp.”
Shero said about Schneider’s injury: “(h)e played through [the injury], but at the end of the year it was something he had to have done, unfortunately, it’s a common injury with goalies nowadays. It was affecting other parts of his game. Hopefully everything is taken care of and put in the rearview mirror when he does return.”
In other news, Shero also broke his silence regarding free agency. He told Morreale that the Devils “never had a chance to inquire about… defenseman John Carlson” and although the team did have interest, James van Riemsdyk and Calvin de Haan obviously signed elsewhere. JVR ultimately ended up back with the Flyers, where he was familiar, while de Haan signed with the Hurricanes.
Morreale said that the Devils “pushed hard to re-sign forward Patrick Maroon, but the 30-year-old signed a one-year, $1.75 million with the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday.” Shero confirmed that the Devils did offer more money on a one-year deal, but that Maroon decided to play in his hometown (he is from Oakville, Missouri according to Morreale) and play near his family.
Morreale also said that Shero expects to re-sign Blake Coleman and Stefan Noesen “who filed for player-elected salary arbitration July 5.”
Shero, for his part, has kept a cool head regarding free agency, he told Morreale: “I think it’s more a process of building a team and where we were three years ago to now. Are there avenues to improve? Absolutely, but only if it makes sense. We know who the top players were in free agency and where John Tavares went (Toronto Maple Leafs), where Carlson stayed. I think a lot of stuff what we’re doing is internal, but if we can add the right player, we’ll do it. I like where we are, like our flexibility and where our younger players and veterans are right now.”
Shero continued telling Morreale that the goal of the team “is to keep improving and not lose what we have in terms of a culture.” He admitted that “(i)f you pick up the paper today, we’re probably on the outside looking in (on the playoffs). A lot of teams have made additions, but I’ve been through this and we’re not going to deviate from the plan. I have a lot of faith in our staff and players.” He also reiterated that the team has cap space to work with and that that is one of their greatest assets.
While the news about Cory is largely disappointing – knowing that he will not be rushed is a good reassurance. He will be brought along as needed and hopefully can regain his position as a top goalie. If not, the Devils do have options. Also, it was nice to see Shero break his silence and layout the Devils’ philosophy to free agency.
Sure the Devils can offer more term or more money, but ultimately, if the player wants to go elsewhere (thinking specifically of the Maroon situation) no one can stop them. The Devils were players in free agency, it is just that other teams were better fits for the players for varying reasons.
It may be somewhat cliche, but “trust the process” applies here. Ray Shero has a plan to make this team a consistent Stanley Cup contender and we just need to trust in his way of doing things.
Instant gratification results in overpaying free agents or getting into contract trouble with them. Shero knows how to do his job and, I trust anyway, that the Devils are in very capable hands.