The New Jersey Devils recalled Cory Schneider and there are a few potential reasons why they are making this move right now.
It seems that the New Jersey Devils have another three-headed monster on their hands for the first time since 2014-15 when Lou Lamoriello, Scott Stevens, and Adam Oates all manned Jersey’s bench.
But the trio this time around is about the goaltending. Cory Schneider’s recall from the American Hockey League on Thursday certainly leaves fans with questions and speculation. The recall, for now, resulted in goaltender Louis Domingue going on waivers with the intention that he’ll dress for the Binghamton Devils in the AHL.
Let’s look at what Schneider’s recall really means for not only New Jersey, but the former first-round draft pick.
#NJDevils NEWS: New Jersey has recalled G Cory Schneider and D Dakota Mermis from Binghamton (AHL).
They will both be at today’s morning skate.https://t.co/Q1bMkma6w7
— New Jersey Devils (@NJDevils) February 20, 2020
The Devils aren’t quite fortunate enough where they’re in a similar situation to the New York Rangers, who have three masked men capable of being starting netminders. While Jersey’s team has a future NHL All-Star between the pipes in MacKenzie Blackwood, Louis Domingue is nothing more than a backup at the NHL level, and the former elite goaltender—Schneider—has been missing since 2016-17.
Trading Domingue was likely one reason the Devils recalled Schneider.
Cory Schneider speaks to the media prior to tonight's game against the Sharks. He will back up Mackenzie Blackwood tonight.
“Feeling pretty good about things right now. Another opportunity to make the most of it and play as best I can for the guys down the stretch here.” pic.twitter.com/qFWc2itDKr
— New Jersey Devils (@NJDevils) February 20, 2020
That’s not a knock on Domingue’s performance level between the pipes but rather just a reality that he’s a solid backup goaltender. He can fill in and potentially steal wins for teams once and awhile. Considering the Devils are selling with the trade deadline arriving on Monday, there is a chance that teams could offer New Jersey a late-round pick for Domingue.
That’s nothing glorious, we know, but it’s better than zero income.
The trade market for goaltenders isn’t exactly deep at the moment and teams likely won’t want to cough up higher value for a rental or an aging goaltender. That means Domingue suddenly becomes more attractive and cost-friendly for playoff-contending teams.
If Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist doesn’t waive his no-trade clause, a team like the Colorado Avalanche could take interest in acquiring Domingue, purely for assurance and depth if Philipp Grubauer’s injuries persist.
— New Jersey Devils (@NJDevils) February 19, 2020
The chances are that teams won’t bid on Schneider considering his recent play at the NHL level and his injury history. Let’s not forget that trading Domingue isn’t exactly the end of the world either. New Jersey can also pursue a more talented backup netminder this offseason with unrestricted free agents such as Jaroslav Halak and Anton Khudobin hitting the market.
Per Devils team reporter, Amanda Stein, head coach Alain Nasreddine and the front office “expect Schneider to finish the year with us.”
#NJDevils Alain Nasreddine says in regards to Cory Schneider's recall: "For now, we expect Schneider to finish the year with us."
— Amanda Stein (@amandacstein) February 20, 2020
If that’s the case—and the Devils should hope it is considering how much Schneider has went through between demotions and injuries—then there’s an odd man out in the crease for New Jersey.
There are a few other reasons to consider for Schneider’s recall which might also mean, ‘this is it.’
The Devils owe No. 35 $6 million over each of the next two seasons, but the goaltender may consider retirement after this season, New Jersey may buy out his contract, or this is another legitimate shot for Schneider.
Schneider’s displayed a solid career prior to the drama and earned himself a lucrative contract, but perhaps it’s time to hang it up? He’s a fierce competitor and wants to prove he’s still an NHL goaltender, but he has suffered through plenty of injuries in his career.
If that is a potential scenario, then New Jersey respectfully recalled him to have one last hoorah in the NHL and with the Devils—almost his own farewell.
Even if Schneider doesn’t retire, the recall could still be a respectful nod to the goaltender to finish out the season with the team before his contract is bought out.
But there is one final scenario.
It’s a longshot, but the Devils have nothing to lose giving him a fair shot in net again. New Jersey isn’t playoff-bound and resting Blackwood down the stretch wouldn’t harm the Devils either.
The hope would then be he’d serve as a complementary goaltender behind Blackwood next season.
What type of reception will Schneider receive when he salutes the crowd after the Devils’ final home game this season?