Revisting the New Jersey Devils Trade for Cory Schneider

Cory Schneider

We all wish we could back in time but alas none of us have a time machine. The next best thing is to revisit certain events in the past that change the course of certain teams in the NHL. One of those such events is the trade involving Cory Schneider from the Vancouver Canucks to the New Jersey Devils in 2013. Considering the 2020 NHL Draft is happening Tuesday, October 6th and Wednesday, October 7th and Bo Horvat‘s┬áplay for the Canucks in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, what better time than to revisit the trade.

Cory Schneider Acquired by New Jersey

Entering the 2013-14 season the Devils were in a transition period at the goaltending position. Goaltender Martin Brodeur was coming to the end of his career in New Jersey. The Devils missed the playoffs in 2013 after making the Stanley Cup Final in 2012 and needed a successor at that position. Not to mention, general manager Lou Lamoriello was on his last legs in New Jersey as well. Years of poor drafting, developing and free-agent signings saw Lamoriello trying to save his job. While he is considered one of the best general managers of all-time, his poor decision-making in the salary cap world put the Devils at a disadvantage. Based on where the Devils finished in the standings, they held the ninth overall pick. In addition, the 2013 NHL Draft was being held at the Prudential Center, so the Devils were looking to make a splash.

At the time, the Canucks had a goalie controversy on their hands. Youngster Cory Schneider was starting to take over the starter’s role from incumbent Roberto Luongo. Schneider coming out of Boston College made an impact with the Canucks as the backup goalie. Having split time with Luongo, it was clear that Schneider was becoming the man in Vancouver. The Canucks had gone to the 2011 Stanley Cup Final losing in seven games with that duo. There were some that believed had Schneider started Game 6 in Boston in the Stanley Cup Final, the Canucks would have won that year. The numbers said that Schneider should start considering Luongo’s troubles on the road. With Schneider’s rise in play, it sent the Canucks plan into overdrive.

2013 NHL Draft

Coming into the draft, both teams were at a crossroads. One team had a goalie controversy, while the other needed a successor. Not to mention a general manager was looking to save his job. With the Devils on the clock, Commissioner Gary Bettman steps to the podium and says “We have a trade to announce. I think you are gonna want to hear this.” “New Jersey trades the ninth overall to Vancouver for goaltender Cory Schneider.” At the time the fans inside the building cheered the move. With Brodeur and Johan Hedberg getting older, Lamoriello saved his job with just one move getting in a younger goaltender. It was a move that good for both teams. Vancouver could not buy out Luongo and keep Schneider and the Devils needed to get younger at that position.

When Vancouver came to the podium, the Canucks selected Bo Horvat from the London Knights of the OHL. Since the Canucks needed depth in their prospect pool this was a great selection.

On Different Paths

Cory Schneider

Both Schneider and Horvat were on different paths. Schneider was getting close to entering the prime of his career. While Horvat would take a year two come into the league. Schneider came to New Jersey with the expectations of being the starter. There were some tense moments between him and Brodeur. And again the numbers favoured the younger goaltender. Eventually, the Devils would move on from Brodeur and give Schneider the reigns. His first three seasons in New Jersey were good. However, the Devils failed to make the playoffs.

Then, injuries started to rear its ugly head. He missed significant time with multiple lower-body injuries. And while the Devils made the playoffs in 2018, he was not the guy guiding the ship. While he did get the only Devils playoff win in 2018, confidence became an issue. Just like with other goalies of the past time was catching up with Schneider. A stint in the minors this past season helped him regain his confidence prior to the pause in the season.

Bo Horvat

Meanwhile, Bo Horvat was coming into his own in Vancouver. With no expectations of making the team, Horvat did so his rookie season. However, an injury would delay his debut. Once Horvat debuted for the Canucks he did not leave the lineup. The only time he was out of the lineup was because of injuries, which is something he continues to deal with. During his first six seasons in the league, Horvat has gotten better over each year. He has played a full season three times and was selected to the All-Star Game in 2017. Prior to the start of the 2017-18 season, Horvat signed a new five-year deal worth $33 million. It carried a cap hit of $5.5 million. And despite not having consistent linemates during the 2018-19 campaign, Horvat set career highs in points (61) goals (27) and assists (34).

Horvat was on pace to have a career year before the NHL paused its season. What had both fan bases talking was Horvat’s play coming out of the restart. Horvat had 12 points (10 goals and two assists) in 17 games for the Canucks. Vancouver went to the second round of the playoffs losing to the Vegas Golden Knights in seven games.

Would the Devils Have Selected Bo Horvat

Considering his offensive output in the playoffs, many Devils fans wondering what might have been if New Jersey selected him in 2013. Granted, at the time, nobody knew that Vancouver was going to select Horvat that high. However, at the time Lamoriello was still the general manager. So he most likely would have selected Josh Morrissey, Samuel Morin or Max Domi at that spot in the draft anyway. With the Devils still being a defence first team, the selection of Horvat probably does not happen. The Devils defence was in shambles too, so building from the backend out made more sense. Now it is hard to pass up an offensive talent like Horvat, but at the time the selection probably does not happen. However, it is fun to think about what might have been.

Conclusion

Looking back on what we know now, obviously, things worked out better for the Canucks than the Devils. But the Devils wasted the prime years of Schneider with poor teams. But at the time of the trade, it made sense for both teams. And it still does.

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