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Jersey Retirement

Schneider proved himself in becoming Devils' No. 1

In supplanting Brodeur, earned respect of teammates and fans

by Mike G. Morreale @MikeMorrealeNHL / Staff Writer

Schneider denies Burakovsky

WSH@NJD: Schneider uses the pad to halt Burakovsky

2/6/16: Cory Schneider throws out the left pad to stop a streaking Andre Burakovsky in front of the net to keep the game tied at 1

  • 00:09 •

NEWARK, N.J. -- The first person goaltender Cory Schneider thought about after learning he had just been traded from the Vancouver Canucks to the New Jersey Devils in June 2013 was Martin Brodeur.

"I was like, 'Wow, Marty Brodeur is there and he's been there forever,'" Schneider said. "I knew the Devils had been his team for a long time, so I had to figure out a way to come in, treat Marty and the situation with a lot of respect, and just go from there."

The trade caught Schneider by surprise, particularly since he didn't know a whole lot about the Devils. All he knew was that New Jersey was on the East Coast and had a low NHL profile in terms of national media coverage.

"I didn't know what [Brodeur's] contract situation was, I didn't know how old he was, or even how he did the previous season," Schneider said. "But I wasn't too worried about that. I just wanted to come in, work hard and just earn the respect of everyone on the team. Marty was a big component of that process."

It would also be Schneider's second tour of duty as backup to an elite NHL goaltender.

In his initial five seasons with the Canucks, he was behind Roberto Luongo. Now it was Brodeur, who had won the Stanley Cup three times, the Vezina Trophy four times, and set every significant NHL goaltending record in 20-plus seasons with the Devils at the time of Schneider's arrival.

"I think I learned a lot about friendship and professional relationships all at once when I was with [Luongo] in Vancouver," Schneider said. "[Brodeur] made it very easy on me because from what I heard it could have been dicey in terms of how he treated me or how I was looked upon.

Video: NJD@NYR: Schneider robs Stepan on point-blank shot

"But [Brodeur] couldn't have been more respectful and supportive of my role and where I was going in my career. That whole situation just gave me insight and experience to go in and work hard, compete and try to get starts and maintain a good professional relationship off the ice."

Schneider finished 16-15-12 in 45 games for the Devils in 2013-14 and his 1.97 goals-against average was third in the NHL. In July 2014 he signed a seven-year contract with the Devils through 2021-22.

Schneider made the most of his first season as a starter in the NHL, finishing 26-31-9 with five shutouts, a 2.26 GAA and a .925 save percentage in 69 games.

Brodeur did not re-sign with the Devils prior to 2014-15 when they committed to Schneider as their No. 1 goalie. He finished his career playing seven games last season for the St. Louis Blues and currently serves as an assistant general manager for St. Louis.

"Everybody knew [Schneider] was coming in here to be the next one and it was fun to be part of it," Brodeur said. "You knew he was going to take my job eventually and I was nearing the end of my career. I think he's grown a lot since then too. The workload is big, but he loves to play a lot and the Devils are in really good hands having him between the pipes."

Former Devils defenseman Ken Daneyko, who had his jersey No. 3 retired by the Devils in March 2006, feels Schneider certainly had to earn his way into the hearts of Devils fans.

"I respect Cory for the way he handled the situation because he had the utmost respect for Marty," Daneyko said. "He's such a professional. When you believe in yourself you've got to do what's right for you, but I thought it was handled real well for the most part. How do you come in and replace the guy who is loved by every Devils fan, the favorite Devil, the prodigal son. That had to be some pressure."

Brodeur will have his jersey No. 30 retired by the Devils at Prudential Center on Tuesday. Schneider will be watching too, as the Devils will host the Edmonton Oilers (8 p.m. ET; TVA Sports, SNOL, MSG, NHL.TV).

Devils captain Andy Greene wasn't surprised with how well Schneider adjusted while competing for time alongside Brodeur. What he wasn't prepared for was how good Schneider actually was.

"He went through it in Vancouver [with Luongo] so he knew what he had to do to be prepared and be ready for games, so it wasn't surprising that he battled and eventually got the job," Greene said. "I believe he's an elite goalie now. I would have to say he's top five in the League and, if not, he's up there in the conversation for sure. He's been the backbone of our team, plays consistent and hard every night."

Schneider, named an NHL All-Star for the first time in his career this season, has allowed two or fewer goals in 29 of his past 37 starts since Oct. 29, 2015, and is 19-14-5 with four shutouts, a 1.96 GAA and .933 save percentage over that stretch.

He is tied for the NHL lead in games played (45), is third in shutouts (four) and GAA (2.03) and is tied for sixth in wins (23) and save percentage (.929).

"It's big when you have a guy like [Schneider] in your room who is a leader and key player for your team," Devils coach John Hynes said. "His competitiveness in games and practices just rubs off on his teammates. Cory has a combination of talent and professionalism that helps you win games. He's able to provide that culture in the locker room of how you want to practice and work. He embodies all those things."

Of what is Schneider most proud at this stage of his career with the Devils?

"I'd like to think that I've done enough to show people I'm committed to this team and how badly I want to win and compete," Schneider said. "We still haven't gotten to where I want to be and I haven't done anything personally, so I guess in that sense I'm not proud of anything, but I think just the way I've tried to demonstrate to the fans, ownership and my teammates that they made a good decision and can believe in me."

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