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Cory Schneider has one year remaining on his three-year, $12 million deal with the New Jersey Devils, and then he's set to become a very attractive unrestricted free agent.
Naturally, the Devils would like to lock him up to an extension before that. And Schneider is willing to listen. But he's not re-upping in New Jersey -- he's not signing jacksquat, suckers -- unless the Devils can assure him 60 games this time.
At 28 years old, and after having proved himself a starting-calibre netminder, like, four times, Schneider is done with this "platoon" garbage. From the Star-Ledger:
"I’m probably 50 or 75 games short of where I would have liked to be as far as career games-played,” he said. “That’s a result of splitting the time in goal in Vancouver as well as last year. I was hoping to step into that (No. 1 role) maybe a little earlier.
“As far as going forward, if I can start playing 60 games next year and go from there, it will be a great spot. You sit back and realize there are only 30 starting positions in the league. If you can have one of them, that’s a good place to be. I’m looking to the future and what’s going to happen next season and behind that.”
That's a very diplomatic way of saying it, but anybody who's been paying attention to Cory Schneider's career knows that he's about ready to kick puppies with these sharing programs. He was drafted in the first round in 2004. He's still never started more than 50 games in an NHL season.
Schneider broke into the league with Vancouver, splitting time with Roberto Luongo, and eventually, he even won Luongo's job, which is saying something. He closed his last season in Vancouver as the starter, and honestly thought he'd return next season to serve in that role.
But then he was moved to New Jersey to be their goalie of the future, which is all well and good, except that he wanted to be the goalie of the present.
Unfortunately, NHL legend Marty Brodeur wasn't quite willing to fade into a supporting role, and once again, Schneider found himself as a 1B, despite being, clearly, the better option in goal. He was annoyed. He knows better than to say it out loud and come off sounding like a problem child, but he was annoyed.
But now he's in the driver's seat. At 28, Schneider is in the prime of his career, and no doubt other teams around the league have taken notice. If the Devils bring back Brodeur for another year of starter battles and passive-aggressive sniping, Schneider's likely to walk right into the open arms of another team that's willing to make him their everything, and he's putting them on notice now.
It's a bit of a power play, but after a decade of waiting, Schneider's finally in a position to make it. Safe to say if he doesn't get 60 games with the Devils this year, he won't be playing a single game for them in the next.