There were obviously high hopes for the Devils’ new goalie even before his performance last night. He was brought in by Lou Lamoriello at this year’s NHL draft to be the heir apparent to future Hall of Famer Martin Brodeur. Fans and analysts alike did not see the trade coming, making it a pleasant surprise for Devils fans. It was a large positive in a Devils offseason that was filled with negatives.
Schneider is the backup goalie to Brodeur to start the season. He has to be the best backup in the NHL. His stats have been combed through over again and again, and they are pretty phenomenal. He seems to be a player that fans can really get behind.
Schneider was absolutely fabulous in his performance. He robbed Brad Richards on what should have been a sure goal. He stopped all 22 shots the Rangers came at him with. He helped kill all four penalties the Devils took while he was in net. He was great when the team needed to lean on him. The defense was not at its best, but Schneider has their backs every time.
If this is the type of season the team is going to see inside the crease, then it is going to be a good season. There is no better start a newcomer can have than to dominate a longtime rival. If last night didn’t excite the fans for the upcoming season, then they are made from stone.
Perspective is everything, of course. It was the first game either of these teams have played. The players were not in midseason form by any means. Either way, there were 22 shots on Schneider, and zero went in the net.
There is no doubt that the New Jersey defense will get better as the offseason progresses. If you can add that to the goaltending, then the team will be a force in the Metropolitan Division. Their contrast in style to every other team (defense-first vs. offense-first) could probe to be a huge advantage for the Devils. Only time will tell if it develops like it can.