Both Cory Schneider and the Devils found his new deal to be an easy decision. (Getty Images)
Last year, when Cory Schneider
was traded by the Vancouver Canucks to the New Jersey Devils, he wasn't sure what to expect.
It didn't long for him to understand what his new team was about, and he cemented that relationship Wednesday, signing a multiyear contract extension to remain with the Devils.
Schneider, 28, would have become an unrestricted free agent following the 2014-15 season. His new contract starts with the 2015-16 season and would keep him with the Devils through 2021-22.
"It's a great position," Schneider said. "I intend to be a loyal guy. I don't have a lot of interest in bouncing around from team to team, being three teams in four years. I found a place I really like and will be good for me, my career and family. I think it was an easy decision."
I found a place I really like and will be good for me, my career and family. - Cory Schneider
The decision also was easy for Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello. The signing comes less than two weeks after the one-year anniversary of New Jersey trading the ninth pick of the 2013 NHL Draft to the Canucks for Schneider.
"We had an opportunity a year ago to acquire Cory at the draft, which gave us two years of him under contract," Lamoriello said. "We had one year to see him and to feel that we were right or wrong in what we felt when we made the trade. He proved us right, and for us to be able to get this done now and put it behind us rather than wait this year and see how things transpire, there was no reason to do so.
"Certainly fundamentally he [Schneider] is an outstanding goaltender. In my opinion he's one of the top goaltenders in the League."
Schneider was 16-15-12 in 45 games, but his 1.97 goals-against average was third in the NHL. He split time in goal with franchise icon Martin Brodeur, but with the extension plus the Devils' move last week to sign veteran backup Scott Clemmensen, Brodeur's time with the franchise is over. That means Schneider, for the first time in his NHL career, will enter a season the No. 1 goaltender. Schneider never publicly said he wanted to be the unquestioned starter in net, but said the talks he had with Lamoriello let him know exactly what the organization thought of him now and going forward.
"I think it was made very clear, you don't make this kind of deal or do this kind of extension if they didn't believe I was the guy or that I didn't believe I was going to be the guy," Schneider said. "There was a sort of mutual understanding without it being said that this is how things were progressing and this is the next step of my evolution. I don't think either side makes that kind of commitment if you don't believe you're going to be the guy next year and for many years to come."
Brodeur's departure ends an era in New Jersey. He won the Stanley Cup three times, the Vezina Trophy four times, and set every significant NHL goaltending mark in 21 seasons with the Devils.
Lamoriello was clear that Brodeur will always be a part of the franchise, whether he plays for another team or not.
"Marty has had a tremendous career here and Marty will always be a Devil," Lamoriello said. "Marty realizes what is necessary as far as the decision going forward with Cory … I don't want to look at it as sadness. He had a great career. He'll always be a Devil, just in a different way.
"Right now it's going forward. Time has a way of taking care of that and decisions have to be made. Marty's legacy is what it is. Cory's not here to replace Marty; Cory's here to establish his own identity which he has done and go forward with that. We're just delighted because we go from one great goaltender to another. The philosophy of this organization has been built from the goaltender out and that will continue to be the philosophy."Adam Kimelman