Prospect: Nick Schneider
Hometown: Leduc, Alberta
Acquired: Signed as a free agent on September 23, 2015
Team: Medicine Hat Tigers
2016-17 Stats: 16 GP, 13 W, 2 L, 1 OTL, 2.69 GAA, .911 SV%
Nick Schneider became a member of the Calgary Flames through interesting circumstances. After not being selected in the 2015 draft, he was invited by the Flames to play for the team at the Penticton Young Stars Classic. He was kept around for main camp and due to temporary absences of the other goaltenders around the team, he received extra time on the ice in practice. The team must of liked what they saw, as they signed him to an entry-level deal as an 18-year-old. The Flames obviously saw it as an opportunity to add a bit of depth to their goaltending depth chart without expending any assets.
From the outside, his signing seemed a little confusing. His WHL stats were unimpressive at the time, he was coming off a season where he posted a save percentage of .898. Once cut from Flames camp, he was sent back to his WHL team, the Medicine Hat Tigers, where he put up some subpar numbers again, finishing the season with a save percentage of .896, worse than the previous season. However, due to injuries and a lack of organizational depth, he ended up playing some games for the Flames’ AHL affiliate in Stockton at the end of the season, where he was a bit in over his head, posting a record of 4 wins and 5 losses, with an .876 save percentage. Obviously, it was a very tough scenario for a young goaltender to be thrown into, playing goaltender for a professional team trying to push for the playoffs, so you cannot fault him at all for his result there. Further, it looks as though his end of season experience in the AHL may have helped push his game forward.
After looking pretty good at Penticton this year, Schneider was sent back to his WHL team in Medicine Hat, where so far his stats show significant improvement from previous years. He currently boasts a 13-2-1 record and a .911 save percentage. He leads all WHL goaltenders in wins at the time of writing. While there are quite a few goaltenders posting better save percentages than him, the fact he has been able to post such a strong winning record alongside a significant jump in save percentage is a promising sign that could indicate him developing toward the potential the Flames saw in him when they signed him to a contract.
Schneider is definitely a long shot to ever make it to the NHL, goaltending jobs at the highest level are just so competitive and the Flames possess two very high quality goaltending prospects in Jon Gillies and Tyler Parsons, as well as a couple others that have potential in David Rittich and Mason McDonald. However, such strides in play and impressive results are absolutely noteworthy. It has been a good season so far for Nick Schneider, hopefully he can continue to push forward and make some noise in the future.