During his incredible career with the New Jersey Devils, Martin Brodeur played at least 70 games 12 different times. The NHL still has its fair share of “workhorse” goalies, yet we haven’t seen someone shoulder the burden of 70+ games since 2011-12.*
In his first season as an unquestioned No. 1, Cory Schneider told the Newark Star-Ledger that he’ll gladly aim for such a haul.
“I’m very prepared,” Schneider said. “You try to take it game by game, or in smaller segments. If you think about it as an 82-game season it gets pretty overwhelming and you sort of lose focus on what’s coming up next. For me it’s more about the next game than trying to figure out what I’m going to feel like 30, 40 50 games in.”
That’s a pretty ambitious goal for a netminder who set a career-high with 45 games played last season.
Granted, the 28-year-old transitioned from a playing time tug-of-war with one potential Hall-of-Famer (Roberto Luongo) in Vancouver to a certain one in Brodeur, so it’s not as though we can openly question his conditioning.
Schneider discussed the “mental and physical side of things,” yet the team’s schedule will be the biggest hurdle.
“The schedule is going to dictate a lot,” Schneider said. “We’ve been fortunate to have a pretty broken-up start here where I’m able to handle it. But I know next month things get pretty hectic. Clemmer has been working hard and we have a lot of faith in him to step in there and play games when he has to. I’m sure we’ll find times to manage the schedule almost mores than managing myself.”
Indeed, it might be tough to pull this off, even ignoring NHL trends. The Devils came into 2014-15 tied for the second-most back-to-back sets with 18, and they’ve only knocked one of those out (Schneider went 1-0-1 this past Friday and Saturday).
As far as backups go, the Devils have two interesting-if-flawed options in veteran Scott Clemmensen and young goalie Keith Kinkaid.
Many believe that the Devils could be a “bubble team” this season, which means that they might need to lean on Schneider quite a bit more than what’s become the norm in the NHL. At least he sounds like he’d prefer it that way, though.
* – Three goalies did so then: Pekka Rinne (73 games played), Jonas Hiller (73) and Miikka Kiprusoff (70).