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Schneider may miss start of season for Devils

Goalie recovering from hip surgery in May

by Mike G. Morreale @mikemorrealeNHL / Staff Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- Cory Schneider may not be ready to start the season for the New Jersey Devils season following hip surgery.

The 32-year-old goalie, who had surgery for torn cartilage in his left hip May 1, was given a five-month recovery period and remains on that timetable. That would take him to Oct. 1; the Devils open the season Oct. 6 against the Edmonton Oilers in Sweden.

"Whether it's September or October, we are not going to rush Cory," Devils general manager Ray Shero said at development camp Wednesday. "We have Keith Kinkaid, and that's why we re-signed Eddie Lack (to a one-year contract worth $650,000 on June 30). We'll get more updates as we move along in the summer."

Forwards Taylor Hall and Nico Hischier should be ready for camp.

Hall, who won the Hart Trophy as the NHL's most valuable player, had surgery for torn ligaments in his left hand April 30 and is training in Toronto. Hischier, who had his left wrist immobilized for four weeks in May because of an injury that kept him out of the 2018 IIHF World Championship for Switzerland, is also working out.

Video: NJD@TBL, Gm5: Schneider denies Kucherov's one-timer

Schneider missed 16 games with a groin/hip injury late in the season and was 0-10-2 with a 4.04 goals-against average and .863 save percentage in 12 games prior to the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"He played through [the injury], but at the end of the year it was something he had to have done; unfortunately, it's a common injury with goalies nowadays," Shero said. "It was affecting other parts of his game. Hopefully everything is taken care of and put in the rearview mirror when he does return."

Kinkaid went 7-0-1 with a 2.25 GAA and .931 save percentage in eight straight starts to end the regular season to help the Devils qualify for the playoffs for the first time in six seasons, but he had a 5.87 GAA and .804 save percentage in the first two games of the Eastern Conference First Round against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Schneider relieved Kinkaid and finished with a 1.78 GAA and .950 save percentage in three playoff games. The Devils lost the series in five games.

Shero said he never had a chance to inquire about free agent defenseman John Carlson, who re-signed with the Washington Capitals for eight years at an average annual value of $8 million June 24. The Devils had interest in forward James van Riemsdyk, but he signed a five-year contract with the Philadelphia Flyers on July 1. Defenseman Calvin de Haan, who signed a four-year, $18.2 million contract with the Carolina Hurricanes on July 3, was not an option.

The Devils pushed hard to re-sign forward Patrick Maroon, but the 30-year-old signed a one-year, $1.75 million contract with the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday. Maroon grew up in Oakville, Missouri.

"I really wanted to have Patty back," Shero said. "I offered him a lot more money on a one-year deal, but I respect his decision to return home to his family."

Video: Blues sign Patrick Maroon to a one-year contract

In addition to Maroon, the Devils lost defenseman John Moore (Boston Bruins) and forwards Brian Gibbons (Anaheim Ducks) and Michael Grabner (Arizona Coyotes) as unrestricted free agents. 

Shero said he does expect the Devils to eventually re-sign forwards Blake Coleman and Stefan Noesen, who filed for player-elected salary arbitration July 5.

"I think it's more a process of building a team and where we were three years ago to now," Shero said. "Are there avenues to improve? Absolutely, but only if makes sense. We know who the top players were in free agency and where John Tavares went (Toronto Maple Leafs), where Carlson stayed. I think a lot of stuff what we're doing is internal, but if we can add the right player, we'll do it. I like where we are, like our flexibility and where are younger players and veterans are right now.

"Our goal is to keep improving and not lose what we have in terms of the culture. If you pick up the paper today, we're probably on the outside looking in (on the playoffs). A lot of teams made additions, but I've been through this and we're not going to deviate from the plan. I have a lot of faith in our staff and players.

"We still have (NHL salary) cap space, one of our greatest assets, to do some things if something comes our way. We just need to keep the momentum and enthusiasm strong in what we're doing here."

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