COMMENTARY | The New Jersey Devils made a splash at the 2013 NHL draft but it was not a draft selection that excited the home crowd at the Prudential Center. Instead, general manager Lou Lamoriello surprised everyone and traded the team's #9 overall pick to the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for goaltender Cory Schneider. The 27-year-old went 17-9-4 in 30 starts last season.
The trade for Schneider signals a significant change for the franchise as future Hall of Fame goaltender Martin Brodeur has been the team's top net minder since winning the Calder Trophy in 1993-94. He has also been the face of the franchise. All good things eventually come to an end, though, and the end to Brodeur's fabulous career is nearing. With that said, Brodeur still has one year remaining on his contract and could conceivably backup Schneider for more years after that, as well.
The trade was a surprise for a couple of reasons. First, the trade was classic Lamoriello as the Devils were never rumored to be looking for a goaltender. In addition, New Jersey finished near the bottom of the NHL in goals scored. As a result, it made sense to figure that they would look to take a forward in this year's draft. Lastly, while there were always rumors about Vancouver's goaltending situation, it was usually assumed that Roberto Luongo would be the one shipped out. In the end, however, the trade just makes so much sense.
The Devils still have backup goaltender Johan Hedberg under contract for next season so it remains to be seen what will happen with him. The New York Islanders are a young team who could use a veteran backup goaltender so a trade between the two might work for both sides.
In the end, the New Jersey Devils knew they had to find a successor for Brodeur and got their man in Schneider. Today marked the end of an era and the dawn of a new one. Schneider's play in net will ultimately decide the future.
Michael Pellegrini has followed the New Jersey Devils since the mid to late 1990s when they had players like Doug Gilmour and Dave Andreychuk in the later stages of their career.
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- New Jersey Devils
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