Cory Schneider

Lamoriello believes he’s closing in on Schneider extension


New Jersey Devils GM Lou Lamoriello told the Bergen Record that he might be close to crossing off a big item on his offseason to-do list: re-signing goalie Cory Schneider.

“It’s a work in progress and we’re getting closer and closer,” Lamoriello said. “Hopefully, we’ll have that done in the very near future.”

Schneider, 28, has one year remaining on his contract, which carries a $4 million cap hit. It’s really not a bad time to lock the netminder up, as Martin Brodeur’s apparent departure makes it clear that he’ll get his wish about being the clear No. 1 guy for the 2014-15 season (if not longer).

As the Bergen Record notes, the Devils’ backup job is likely to come down to veteran Scott Clemmensen (experienced, but on a two-way deal) and rookie Keith Kinkaid. On paper, that provides very little competition for Schneider and adds that much more incentive for a longer-term commitment.ay

Than again, Schneider might want a full season as an unquestioned starter to drive up his negotiating value.

Schneider has a great career save percentage (.925), with that track record carrying over to his tug-o-war with Martin Brodeur last season, even if his record (16-15-12) doesn’t fall in line with that strong .921 save percentage. A little more luck (12 wins on the table, including an odd run of shootout futility for the Devils) and he can enjoy a better record and individual stats.

Either way, there’s a good chance that the Devils and Schneider eventually will get what they want.

(H/T to Rotoworld.)

PHT Morning Skate: Beat writers survey predicts Ducks will win Cup

Corey Perry, Frederik Andersen
AP Photo
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PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

In a survey of 29 beat writers, the Anaheim Ducks emerged as the clear favorite to win the Stanley Cup. If you’ll recall, they have that in common with the EA Sports simulation. (Boston Globe)

Alex Ovechkin would pick an Olympic hit against Jaromir Jagr as the biggest check of his life. (Russian Machine Never Breaks)

Here are the highlights from Minnesota’s 5-4 victory over Colorado:

The Montreal Canadiens seem committed to using Alex Galchenyuk as a center throughout the 2015-16 campaign. (The Canadian Press)

The NHL recently enlisted its players to read off some not so mean tweets. (USA Today)

Bills coach Rex Ryan talked about the Sabres in Thursday’s press conference. (

Frederik Andersen may have the Anaheim Ducks’ starting job for now, but with John Gibson still a big part of their plans, Andersen has to keep proving himself. (Orange County Register)

Niemi blanks Pens, notches two assists in Stars debut

Antti Niemi, Sidney Crosby, Patric Hornqvist

DALLAS (AP) — Antti Niemi recorded his 33rd career shutout and assisted on two goals in his Dallas debut, as the Stars beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-0 on Thursday night in the season opener for both.

Ales Hemsky had a power-play goal and an assist.

Rookie Matthias Janmark scored on his first shot on his first shift in an NHL game to make it 1-0. The Stars acquired Niemi and Janmark in trades earlier this year.

Dallas scored on two of five power plays. Jamie Benn, the NHL’s leading scorer last season, had a power-play goal in the third period.

Niemi made 37 saves to improve his career record against the Penguins to 5-1-1. He withstood a flurry in the final minute after Pittsburgh pulled goalie Marc-Andre Fleury for an extra skater.

Fleury had 21 saves.

The Stars are 4-0-1 in their last five home games against Pittsburgh, and have won three in a row overall.

Janmark skated down the slot, took a pass from Hemsky and shot between Fleury’s legs at 1:39 of the first.

The Penguins dominated the latter half of the period, but couldn’t score. Niemi’s best stop was a reaching glove save of Rod Scuderi’s drive from the blue line with less than 3 minutes remaining. Pittsburgh outshot the Stars 10-4 in the first.

Hemsky scored at 5:42 of the second on Dallas’ first power play. His shot from the top of the right faceoff circle went in over Fleury’s right shoulder.

The Penguins again had an advantage in shots, 13-11. Pittsburgh had chances in close, but Niemi turned those away. Midway through the second, John Klingberg cleared away a loose puck from in front of the net.

Seven seconds into the Stars’ fourth power play of the third period, Jamie Benn tipped in Jason Spezza‘s shot from the right point.

NOTES: Dallas acquired Janmark as part of a March trade that sent Erik Cole to Detroit. The rookie had been playing in the Swedish Hockey League. . San Jose traded Niemi’s rights to the Stars in June for a seventh-round draft pick. Also making their Dallas debuts were LW Patrick Sharp and D Johnny Oduya, teammates with Chicago’s Stanley Cup champions last season. . In his first game for the Penguins, Phil Kessel played in his 447th straight game. . Pittsburgh was 0 for 3 on the power play.