Cory Schneider – The Latest Franchise Goaltender

by Eric Daoust on March 17, 2015
  • Eastern Edge
  • Cory Schneider – The Latest Franchise Goaltender
CorySchneiderNJ

 

Looking at Cory Schneider’s evolution into a franchise goaltender.

 

Have you ever been in a pre-season draft where there is a run of goalie selections right after you make your pick in the first round? Depending on the size of the league it could mean that you do not have another pick for a long time and there could be many stoppers off the board before you are on the clock once again. This could leave you scrambling to make a good value pick sometime soon – probably not a goalie with a big name or a long history of fantasy dominance but a guy that nonetheless can deliver the goods.

 

In many setups a guy like Cory Schneider could be one of those guys that can be a great value pick. Of course, his team, the New Jersey Devils, are not very good at the moment and that might scare away some of your rivals. But as we will see Schneider is still able to deliver excellent averages while his frequency of starts help boost his other totals even on a poor squad.

 

Let’s take some time to break down Schneider’s effectiveness in a number of different league types. As always, each type of league will provide different answers. For reference, here are his numbers this year:

 

 

GP

W

GAA

SV%

SO

SV

2014-15

60

25

2.20

0.927

4

1607

Rank

2

14

8

3

10

1

On Pace

71

30

2.20

0.927

5

1902

 

Points-only

 

Typically, points-only leagues will count wins alone or wins plus shutouts. This is where Schneider’s value is at its weakest due to the lack of quality in front of him at the moment. Even in a salary cap era with a lot of parity among the teams, being on the 24th-ranked Devils is not going to make it easy to pick up wins and shutouts. This is similar to the situation that Roberto Luongo currently faces in Florida.

 

With that said, Schneider still has some sneaky value in this setting. Despite the ranking of his team in the standings, he still ranks 14th in wins and 10th in shutouts. Both figures are much higher than you might expect due to Schneider already having played 60 games, which could turn into 70 appearances by year’s end.

 

In addition, you simply cannot discount the history of the Devils. Even though things look bleak right now, they have a history of putting together some excellent teams. There is always a chance that they surprise us yet again and if they do Schneider will be right there with them almost every night. Consider this a bit of hidden upside that Schneider possesses.

 

Multi-category

 

Multi-category leagues are where Schneider shines the brightest. While wins and shutouts are typically still in these formats, the addition of categories such as GAA, save percentage and total saves can push Schneider close to the elite level.

 

Again, Schneider possesses some hidden value that can make him an elite fantasy goalie if the Devils can turn things around as a team.  With the rest of his categories already among the best, he would become a goalie that is top-notch across the board.

 

Keeper value

 

At just 28 years of age and entering his prime years, Schneider is an excellent goalie to own in keeper leagues. Even though his team is currently poor and may be in for a couple lean years, he has already shown the ability to produce upper-tier numbers. An improved Devils squad could easily push Schneider into the top five.

 

In addition, based on Schneider’s history we can count on him to continue his pace of peripheral numbers. Consider his career stats since becoming a full-time NHLer back in 2011:

 

Year

Team

GP

W

GAA

SV%

SO

2010-11

VAN

25

16

2.23

0.929

1

2011-12

VAN

33

20

1.96

0.937

3

2012-13

VAN

30

17

2.11

0.927

5

2013-14

NJ

45

16

1.97

0.921

3

2014-15

NJ

60

25

2.20

0.927

4


Here we see a very obvious pattern – a GAA of 2.23 or better and a save percentage of .921 or better in each year. This level of reliability is rare. He has also been able to accomplish these feats for two different teams including being dealt to a team in decline. Furthermore, he has done all of this in a variety of roles, starting with being Luongo’s backup in Vancouver, then as Martin Brodeur’s sidekick and now as one of the most utilized goalies in the NHL.

 

Once again, we can look to the Devils’ history to give us a hint of what is to come for Schneider. When Brodeur was the man, he was playing more than 70 games each year. In Schneider’s first year as undisputed number-one goalie, history is repeating itself. As long as Lou Lamoriello is at the helm, look for this pattern to remain constant.

 

Besides, the Devils do not possess anyone in their pipeline to challenge Schneider. The current backup, Keith Kinkaid, earned his first full-time NHL gig at the age of 25 and was nothing special in the minors. Meanwhile, things have gone much worse for the likes of Scott Wedgewood and Maxime Clermont in their development. Case in point, barring improvements at the backup position via free agency it appears that Schneider is set in a workhorse role for the foreseeable future.

 

Final thoughts

 

Simply put, Schneider has become a high-quality fantasy goaltender. In fact, in most leagues he is probably undervalued unfairly due to being a member of the New Jersey Devils. In Dobber’s list of Top 100 goalies, which focuses heavily on wins, Schneider is ranked as the 16th-best keeper goalie to own and is part of tier 2. If your league counts save percentage and total saves you can safely put Schneider in tier 1 and could be your steal of the draft if he is still available while some second-tier goalies are being selected.

 

*

 

Roto chemistry

 

After looking over some of the trade deadline deals that were not covered over the previous couple weeks (joint trade deadline discussion here and other trade analysis here). Upon giving some thought to the trade that sent Jeff Petry to Montreal, and the team’s subsequent struggles in the win column, it does bring into question the danger of hurting team chemistry with some big last-minute changes.

 

When assembling your fantasy hockey team, especially in roto leagues, there is a different type of “chemistry” that must be maintained as you navigate your way to hopefully winning your league championship. That is, you want all of the different parts of your team to fit together to give you the best overall total in the standings. While most of your leagues are past the trade deadline by now, many leagues still allow for adds and drops until the final day, even in leagues that are currently in head-to-head playoffs.

 

In head-to-head leagues your temptation might be to maximize games played for the upcoming week, while in roto leagues late changes might be made to chase categories where points can be earned. While this is a sound strategy on paper, you have to be careful not to hurt your team’s chemistry. Any change that you make for improvements in one area can leave you vulnerable in another. You have to keep the bigger picture in mind and make sure that your team always possesses the right mix across the board to get you the results you need down the stretch.

 

To make things easier, whenever possible try to add players that are similar in their distribution of production to the player that you are dropping. That way, you have a better chance of maintaining your team’s overall chemistry by not creating any new weaknesses. If that is not possible, consider the proximity of your opponents to assess the danger of losing points. There may be categories that you can punt while chasing for points with little or no damage done to your overall total, especially with only a few games remaining. In head-to-head, consider your opponent when making your changes. Your goal is to win more than half of the categories. The remaining categories do not matter.

 

*

 

Follow me on Twitter @DH_EricDaoust.