Cory Schneider, the Devils veteran goaltender, saw several ups and downs during the 2019-20 season. He started the year in New Jersey splitting time with Mackenzie Blackwood in net, but after some struggles, he was sent to the Devils affiliate in Binghamton. Schneider went back and forth between the Devils and their AHL affiliate twice, but returned permanently to the NHL in February.
Although it wasn't the season Schneider anticipated, he worked on getting back his game and was able to return to New Jersey. Here are three things you need to know about Schneider's season in review.
BACK TO BASICS
New Jersey assigned Schneider to the Binghamton Devils on November 19, 2019 after he cleared waivers, and the veteran got straight to work. Schneider played 14 games for Bingo, and during that time found consistency.
Before Schneider went to Binghamton, the Devils veteran goaltender was averaging a .848 save percentage. Schneider struggled in his first four games, but then things clicked into place. During his time in the AHL, Schneider had a .903 save percentage and maintained a 2.71 goals-against average. While Schneider's play improved, the team started on a hot streak after a slow start to their season.
Going down to the AHL allowed Schneider time and the reps he needed to regain his confidence to be successful in the NHL. The veteran goaltender returned to New Jersey on February 20, and remained with the team until the end of their season in March.
ENDING ON A HIGH NOTE
Schneider's newfound success and confidence was evident in his play throughout February and March. He picked up his first win of the season against the Detroit Red Wings on February 25th and was honored with the team's Unsung Hero award post-game.
Video: BTS | Cory Schneider Locker Room Speech
He continued his success when he notched his first shutout of the season on March 1 against Anaheim. Schneider also came up big for the Devils against the defending Stanley Cup Champions, when he helped his team to a 4-2 win over the Blues.
In his four games back, Schneider had a .950 save percentage and won three out of his four starts. The only loss was in overtime against the San Jose Sharks. Although the season ended earlier than anticipated and Schneider only had a handful of opportunities to show his growth, the goaltender will have a longer off-season to continue improving. Schneider returned to the ice to practice with Travis Zajac and Pavel Zacha in June and will continue to use ice time during his time off.
LEADER IN THE LOCKER ROOM
For both the New Jersey and Binghamton Devils, Schneider is more than a goalie. He is a leader on and off the ice.
The veteran goaltender took Jack Hughes under his wing, and let the first overall pick live at his house for the rookie's first few months in league. This included family dinners, rides to and from Prudential Center, and some wisdom on what it takes to be a professional hockey player.
Schneider also had a strong presence in the Binghamton locker room and Binghamton Head Coach Mark Dennehy praised the veteran in a media availability earlier this year.
"I'd be remiss if I didn't get the veteran group, especially our leadership group a huge tip of the cap," said Dennehy. "Cory Schneider, who came down and came down with a great attitude and worked on his game and got himself back to where everyone wants him to be. But in the meantime, [he] really helped our culture."
Schneider also serves as his team's representative for the NHLPA. Through this position, he not only advocates for his teammates in league-wide decisions, but he also helps educate younger players about the business side of the game. Whether it's on the ice, in the locker room, or representing the Devils with the NHLPA, Schneider has proved his dedication to being a leader for this organization.