Goodbye Cory; Hello Corey

The Devils today announced that they have bought out the remaining two years of Cory Schneider’s contract as he was placed on waivers yesterday and went unclaimed.

The team posted some great tributes to their social media platforms, honoring the former Devils netminder. This includes a tweet where the team stated: “You’ll always be Jersey no matter the jersey. #WeAreOne #ThankYouCory.”

But with the buyout of Cory Schneider came a vacancy in the Devils crease for a veteran goalie. Enter Corey Crawford.

Crawford agreed to terms on a two-year contract on today, the first day of free agency in the NHL. The team officially announced the signing at 11 PM ET tonight.

The former Chicago Blackhawks goaltender, who won two Stanley Cups while in the Windy City (2013 and 2015), is 35-years-old and had spent “his entire 13-year career with Chicago” according to the Devils’ press release.

The contract breaks down as follows as announced by Executive Vice President/General Manager Tom Fitzgerald: $3,600,000 for 2020-21 and $4,200,000 for 2021-22. It has an annual average value of $3,900,000.

Fitzgerald said: “We are excited to bring Corey into our organization, as he is a proven winner and two-time Stanley Cup Champion. We will look to him to assume a leadership role and be a strong presence for our young core. Crawford’s compete level and ability to battle will rub off on the entire group. This opportunity also provides him with a new challenge in his career.”

Crawford, a native of Montreal who stands 6-feet, 2-inches and weighs 215-pounds, went 260-162-53 during his time as a Blackhawk. He finished there with a .918 save percentage and a 2.45 goals against average. He comes to New Jersey with 26 shutouts over 488 games played in the NHL.

The Devils press release notes that his GAA ranks seventh amongst active goalies and 25th in NHL history. His save percentage is eighth amongst active NHL goalies and 14th all-time in NHL history. He is third on Chicago’s all-time wins list as well. The release also said that he “won the William M. Jennings Trophy (awarded to goaltender on club with fewest goals in the NHL) in 2013 & 2015.” He was an All-Star Game participant in 2015 and 2017 and was the All-Rookie Team goaltender in 2011.

Last year, he played 40 games for the Hawks and was 16-20-3 with a .917 save percentage and a 2.77 GAA.

In the playoffs last year, he played nine games and 4-5 with a .907 save percentage and a 3.31 GAA. Over his career in the postseason, he is 52-42 over 96 career games with five shutouts. He compiled a .918 save percentage and a 2.38 GAA. The press release notes that he holds Chicago’s franchise record for playoff wins and the single-season playoff record for minutes played with 1,504 in 2013. The presser notes that he has played in the playoffs in some form in 17 of 20 seasons through his junior and professional career.

Before being drafted 52nd overall by Chicago in the second round of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, he played in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League for the Moncton Wildcats. There, he went 96-68-18, finishing his junior career with a .913 save percentage and a 2.80 goals against average over 193 games. The Devils’ press release notes that he was a two-time member of the QMJHL’s Second All-Star Team in 2004 and in 2005. He was also the 2004 Defensive Player of the Year in the “Q.” Internationally, he played for Canada at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, winning gold.

Devils to Part Ways with Schneider

According to Amanda Stein this morning on the “Inside the Devils Blog” on, the Cory Schneider era in New Jersey is about to come to an end.

Stein reports that the Devils have placed Schneider on waivers and, should he go unclaimed, will buy out the last two years of his contract.

The veteran, who has battled injuries as he has gotten older, was put on waivers today at noon. Each team will then get a chance to claim him. Should the other 30 teams pass, his contract will be bought out.

Schneider came to the Devils as a potential heir to an aging Martin Brodeur. He was acquired at the 2013 NHL Draft at the Prudential Center from the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for the Devils’ first round pick in that Draft. Vancouver took Bo Horvat with that selection.

Over the ensuing seven years as a Devil, Schneider played in 311 games going 115-133-50 over that stretch, Stein points out that he started 302 of those 311 games. She also notes that those 115 wins place him second to Brodeur on the Devils’ all-time goalie wins list.

For comparison, Marty has 688, although that does not speak to Schneider’s lack of talent in any way, obviously. Just Marty’s once-in-a-lifetime greatness and Cory’s unluckiness. He played at a time when the Devils were certainly in a down-swing – even taking a backseat in their only playoff appearance during his tenure to Keith Kinkaid – and not icing very good teams.

Schneider, Stein mentioned, had his best season in 2015-16. That year, “he recorded a career-high 27 wins in 58 games played. That same year, he represented the New Jersey Devils at the 2016 NHL All-Star Game in Nashville.”

Besides wins, which Schneider realistically had no chance of coming close to Marty in, where does he rank in franchise history?

Well, Stein wrote that he is second in saves made in franchise history with 8,023 (second again, she points out, to Brodeur – who made 28,776) and third in team history with a 2.50 all-time goals against average. Here he trails Johan Hedberg (2.42) who is second and, once again, Brodeur, who is first with a 2.24 GAA. He is also second in shutouts (17) and minutes played (17,872).

Where he does rank first in Devils history is with his save percentage of .915. A fitting place in the record books for a guy who played behind some terrible, porous defenses.

So, now that the Devils have closed the book on Cory and decided to move forward with Mackenzie Blackwood and their other prospects (goaltender Nico Daws was taken in the Draft yesterday), what does this mean for him? He will likely land somewhere as a backup, which is kind of heart wrenching for those who remember his time in Vancouver where he and Roberto Luongo never really got named the top goalie before they were both traded, or wash out of the NHL completely through retirement.

I, personally, would love to see him coach. He always seemed to have an even-keel personality no matter how frustrating things might get for him or the team. He certainly cares about people, as his Cory’s Keepers program for kids could attest to. If he wants to, I could certainly see him get a job as a goaltending coach down the line.

But until then, farewell Cory. You never really had a fair shake here and it was tough to see your prime wasted on mediocre, at best, teams and to injuries. Good luck as you continue your hockey journey.