The New Jersey Devils are doing just fine with Keith Kinkaid as their starting goaltender, but will soon get back someone who aims on taking his job. Cory Schneider has been activated from the injured non-roster list, and will now be sent to the AHL on a conditioning loan. Schneider is coming back from hip surgery, and looking to reclaim his place as a starting goaltender in the NHL. The team has also sent Eric Gryba to the minor leagues after clearing waivers, to open up room for Schneider who will still count towards the NHL roster.
Now 32, it has been a few seasons since Schneider really stood out as an elite goaltender in the league. Once a lasting presence on the NHL leaderboards, he’s carried just a .908 save percentage through his last 100 games and will have to really show his worth to overtake Kinkaid in the New Jersey net. That will be a difficult task seeing as Kinkaid is currently 4-1 with a .941 save percentage, but there’s still at least one thing in Schneider’s favor—money. The Devils owe Schneider $6MM for this season and three more, meaning their hands are somewhat tied when it comes to goaltending. With Kinkaid scheduled for unrestricted free agency in 2019, they might not be able to afford both.
That should give the Devils all the motivation they need to get Schneider back into the net on a regular basis, given that their future might rely on him. This team looks ready to compete for the playoffs for the next several years with their young core, and will need a solid goaltender to get them there. It does put pressure on the former All-Star to perform though, given that the team has a capable option to use this season instead of him. Schneider has been working hard all summer to come back from his latest injury, and will face his next test when he gets into some game action this weekend.