The Vancouver Canucks announced Wednesday that goaltender Cory Schneider has signed a contract to play in Switzerland during the ongoing NHL lockout. He becomes the second NHL goaltender to head to Europe in the past week, as St. Louis Blues netminder Jaroslav Halak left last week to join a club in Germany.
Schneider, who shared the 2010-11 William Jennings Trophy (lowest team GAA) with Roberto Luongo, is coming off a season that saw him post a 20-8-1 record with a 1.96 goals against average, and put himself in line to take over the starting job for the 2012-13 season. He was the Canucks first round pick in the 2004 NHL draft and twice took Boston College to the NCAA Championship game before turning pro. The three-year deal he signed in the off-season will keep him with the Canucks through the 2014-15 season.
His contract with HC Ambri Piotta is made more interesting by the fact that he holds dual citizenship, meaning he will not count against the team’s number of import players. Notable current and former NHL players on the club include Max Pacioretty (Montreal Canadiens), Richard Park, Jason Williams and Maxim Noreau. The club is near the bottom of league standings, with just seven wins in 25 games.
Halak recently made his first start for the Lausitzer Foxes, earning a win. The Foxes play in the German Bundesliga, and also find themselves near the bottom in the standings, with seven wins in 18 games. While sharing the net with Brian Ellliott last season (the duo won the William Jennings Trophy for 2011-12), Halak won 26 games and recorded six shutouts.