Cory is going to get paid real well. The man who wears #35 stands to be in Newark for quite a while, as he signed a seven-year contract extension this past Wednesday. He'll make $42 million, or $6 million per year, after the 2014-15 season ends. If there was any doubt who the main man in the crease will be for the future for the New Jersey Devils, then it was put to rest when that deal was announced. Cory Schneider will be the starter for this coming season and seasons to come.
Therefore, it's important to keep a close eye on how he does. A goaltender who doesn't do well can absolutely undercut a team's season. Schneider did not do that over the entire 2013-14 season. In 45 appearances, Schneider posted an overall save percentage of 92.1%, which is quite good. However, that was not the case the conclusion of the season's first month. In October 2013, Schneider made six appearances. He earned one shutout and gave up two or three goals in the other five games for a total of thirteen goals allowed. His save percentage for the month was 91.5%, which isn't bad but is notably less than his season save percentage. The team definitely wasn't good in October, but let's take a closer look at what got past him to get an better understanding of how he was beaten thirteen times.
About the Review
For those of you who are unaware of what I'm doing, this is my annual month-by-month review of the goals against each Devils goaltender in each game they played in. Shootouts do not count. I've completed the other guy, so I'm now doing this for recently-extended Cory Schneider.
I am focusing on identifying the "soft goals." Those goals against that should have been stopped by the goaltender. Here's how I am defining a soft goal: The goalie must have seen the shot coming; the shot was not deflected or change otherwise in motion; the goalie was in position to actually make the stop; and/or the goaltender made an uncharacteristic mistake that led to the goal. If the goal allowed qualifies, then I deemed the goal as "soft." In fact, the very last trait alone can make the difference in what is and is not a soft goal. Breakaways are done on a case-by-case basis; there I usually look to see whether the goalie has at least made an effort.
In addition to that, I look for other events on the goal allowed. I identify where Schneider was beaten on the goal, relative to Schneider's location. I note the game situation: even strength, power play, and shorthanded. I record whether the goal-scoring shot was a scoring chance. Any shot - not a deflection - from the crease out to the dots up to the top of the circles counts as a chance; anything outside of that does not. If I'm not certain, I will go against calling it a chance. Lastly, I denote any particular skater errors by a Devil on the goal allowed. I assign a skater error by name under "Errors" if the player did something significantly wrong that led to the goal such as a turnover or not covering their man. It's arguable that all goals allowed have an error or some kind; these are for the egregious mistakes that are made. I'm going to be more strict in calling them out. It also doesn't absolve the goaltender for a soft goal against.
Lastly, I have provided links to the video I looked at for each goal from NHL.com. This way if you want to see these for yourself and come to your own conclusion, then you can. These links will auto-play the video, so be forewarned when you click on them.
The 13 Goals Against Cory Schneider in October 2013
|Date||GA#||Where Beaten?||GA Description||Soft?||Video||Errors||SC?||Sit.|
|10/3||1||Through the legs||Sutter takes a high shot as he gained the zone. Kobasew puts home rebound.||No||Link||--||Yes||ES|
|10/3||2||Over the glove||Kunitz hits Volchenkov to free puck, Dupuis plays it across to Crosby for 2-on-1. Crosby heads in and puts it in far post.||Yes||Link||--||Yes||ES|
|10/3||3||Above the left pad||Larsson shot gets blocked, leading to 3-on-2 rush. Malkin feeds trailing Adams in high slot. Fires a shot past Greene and Schneider.||No||Link||--||No||ES|
|10/8||4||Past the left pad||Daniel Sedin fires a wrist shot from the blueline into traffic. Deflected in by Volchenkov.||No||Link||--||No||ES|
|10/8||5||Above the blocker||Henrik Sedin makes a cross ice pass to an open Edler. Edler kicks it to himself, roofs it in.||No||Link||--||Yes||ES|
|10/8||6||Past the left pad||Garrison takes a wrist shot from the point. Gets past Zidlicky, hits Salvador's glove, puck goes down past Schneider.||No||Link||--||No||ES|
|10/13||7||Just over left pad||Kane torches Larsson, fires a puck at a tight angle, bounces off Greene, which drops the puck over Schneider's pad.||No||Link||Larsson||No||SH|
|10/13||8||Past the left side||Frolik takes a tight angle shot that beats Schneider but didn't go over line. Ladd put it in.||No||Link||--||Yes||ES|
|10/22||9||Part the right side||Wisniewski takes a slapshot from the point. Bounces off Umberger's skate, Dubinsky puts home loose puck.||No||Link||--||Yes||PP|
|10/22||10||Above the right pad||Atkinson keeps a puck in, drives down, and fires a backhander through traffic. Seeing-eye puck goes in.||No||Link||--||No||ES|
|10/22||11||Through the legs||Tedenby deflects a Harrold pass up ice. Wisniewski takes it and fires. Shot deflected in traffic and gets past Schneider.||No||Link||Tedenby||No||ES|
|10/24||12||Between glove and pad||Schneider gives away puck off dump-in to Henrik Sedin. Sedin tosses it across to Kesler, who pounds in one-timer.||Yes||Link||--||Yes||ES|
|10/24||13||Under the right pad||Henrik Sedin dumps it in hard to right corner. Bounces out for Daniel Sedin to take one-timer. Beats Schneider low.||Yes||Link||--||No||ES|
As a summary of the location data, not included in the big chart, here's the location of all goals allowed from Schneider in October. Again, these are all relative to Schneider's location; his left is left and his right is right.
In preparation for this post, I read through the prior month for the Devils' other goaltender in 2013-14. Schneider's performance was down-right refreshing if only because the majority of goals allowed didn't go through his legs. He was notably beaten to his lower left quite a bit. However, three of those were really just bad luck for the goaltender. Of those five, GAs #4, 6, and 7 involved some kind of re-direction by a Devils defender. GA #4 went off Anton Volchenkov. GA #6 came from a puck dropping down after hitting Bryce Salvador in the glove. GA #7 was a tight-angled shot that bounced off Andy Greene's body and into the net past Schneider. That's just unfortunate. GA #8 almost wasn't one as Michael Frolik appeared to beat Schneider high shortside, but the puck didn't go in and so Ladd jammed in the rebound on the flank. GA #12 was the only ugly one because Schneider basically gifted that play.
Surprising to me, I only counted three soft goals. The first one may be more forgiveable than most as it was Sidney Crosby in a 2-on-1. Anytime Crosby is leading a 2-on-1 is usually trouble for any keeper. But as shown for GA #2, it met the criteria for softness. Crosby beat Schneider straight up, simple as. The other two soft ones are directly more to blame on the goaltender. On GA #12, Schneider misplayed the puck on a dump-in. He played it but didn't get it out to Greene or out into the corner. So a Sedin picked it up and laid it across to Kesler for a one-timer goal. Whereas that was an error that led to a goal, GA #13 was a result of Schneider getting beaten low at the right post off a dump-in. It was a bad goal to concede. I was expecting to tag Schneider on either GA #10 (Cam Atkinson's backhander) and GA #11 (James Wisniewski from long distance). I didn't think those were good goals to allow after the game. The video showed Atkinson's shot going through traffic and I believe Wisniewski's shot hit off Mark Fayne's stick. I would not fault a goalie for a shot that he didn't see or a shot that got deflected. Another reason why I do this long after the season's done and not while the goals are fresh in my mind and heart.
So I'm left with three out of thirteen goals allowed being soft. The fact that four goals against involved deflections off other Devils tells me it's not that bad. And that Schneider was more unlucky than really poor in the month, save for that October 24 game against Vancouver. Adding to the unfortunate, GA #5 was the result of Ryane Clowe getting hurt and hobbling to the bench during the play. That allowed the space for Alex Edler to skate into, which led to his goal. Plus, GA #9 featured the-also-recently-extended Brandon Dubinsky putting home a loose puck that also came from a shot hitting R.J. Umberger's skate to put the puck in a difficult spot. No wonder only six of these 13 goals came from scoring chance areas; a bunch of them were really the result of re-directions. No wonder I struggled to find any major errors by a skater other than Adam Larsson getting torched on GA #7 and Mattias Tedenby tipping a pass away to the goalscorer on GA #11. (I thought about "Everyone" on GA #8 since the team gave up on the play for that one, but I didn't want to be too mean.)
Ultimately, this month wasn't bad for Schneider as the total number of goals would imply. There were more instances of Schneider being beaten by an inadvertent deflection than anything he did poorly on. It wasn't an amazing start to the season by the goalie, but he was OK. Fortunately, he would get better in the coming month. What do you think of Schneider's October? Was it a satisfactory month for you? Which of the goals allowed did you like the least? Please leave your answers and other thoughts about the goalie's performance in the comments. Thank you for reading.