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Go Big or Go Home: Calgary Flames Should Look at Cory Schneider

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There could be a big fish on the market

New York Islanders v New Jersey Devils Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

When various goaltending options for the Calgary Flames are discussed, names such as the two Penguin goaltenders are brought up along with a host of other candidates.

One name that has started to surface more over the last few weeks is the possibility of the New Jersey Devils trading Cory Schneider.

The Devils finished 27th in the entire NHL last season with Colorado being the only team to have less wins than them. While they did receive a big boost by winning the draft lottery, would Nico Hischier or Nolan Patrick be enough to push the Devils into a playoff spot next year?

Could a Trade Happen?

Again, any possibility of a trade happening would come down to where the Devils think the direction of their franchise is headed. New Jersey has missed the playoffs for five consecutive seasons, and that’s why they have to gauge whether there is more value in Cory Schneider as a trade chip, or a starting goaltender.

At 31 years old, Schneider is around the midpoint in his career, and you’d think he may want to find his way on to a winning team (not that the Flames are a contender yet).

Schneider has five years left on a deal that pays him six million dollars per season, so acquiring him would be a big risk. He also has a full no trade clause, and being from Massachusetts you’d have to think that Schneider might personally prefer to stay on the East coast since he has the choice.

Schneider did have a down season last year with his save percentage falling to 0.908 which was a big dip from his career average. His previous career low was a 0.921 save percentage in 2013-14. His Goals Against Average hit 2.82 which was also the highest of his career, surpassing the previous high of 2.26 in 2014-15.

Was this year simply an anomaly, or the start of Schneider’s decline? It’s hard to say once goalies hit 30 years old.

A better Schneider may not have been enough to push the Devils into the playoffs but it would have kept them in the conversation further into the season.

Ray Shero will have to evaluate what the best course of action for his franchise is, and that could be trading Schneider.

However, the Devils would also likely prefer to send him to the Western Conference so that he wouldn’t affect any chances they had of making the playoffs down the road.

When looking at the Western Conference, there are four teams that don’t have a #1 goaltender locked down in Calgary, Arizona, Vancouver, and Winnipeg. Narrowed down further, any choice would probably come down to the Flames or Jets when it comes to teams ready to make a push in the playoffs.

Would it Make Sense for the Flames?

Ottawa Senators v Calgary Flames Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

Yes and no. Acquiring Schneider would give the Flames a true #1 goaltender, but it would likely involve having send Jon Gillies the other way in the trade.

As somebody who is pretty high on Gillies, trading him away would be a tough pill to swallow, but I think Schneider is the only available goalie that I’d make the trade for.

If the Flames acquired Schneider, they’d get a goalie who has played around 60-65 games in each of the last three seasons, and an undisputed number one goalie. That would leave them free to either bring back Chad Johnson as a backup, or go with a cheaper option in David Rittich, or find someone completely new on the free agent market.

Schneider is a goalie that can easily steal games for a team and if he has a bounceback season to even his career average, it could be enough to push the Flames towards the top of the division next season.

Another big question mark will be how he will react in a playoff setting as he has only played in ten playoff games, all with Vancouver. With the Flames looking poised to become playoff regulars, they’ll need to ensure they have a goalie that could come through in the clutch for them.

In my opinion, the Flames are now past the rebuilding stage and are into win-now mode. Acquiring Schneider would solidify that notion and give the Flames the best chance to win.

Bringing in Schneider would also give Tyler Parsons some more time to develop at his own pace, and then bring him into the fold as Schneider hits his mid 30’s and starts to slow down.

What would a Trade Package Have to Include?

New Jersey has a strange team in that they 5-6 guys in their mid 30’s, then a younger core of guys in the early-mid 20’s. They also will have Ilya Kovalchuk returning from the KHL which could be another good trade chip for them.

Any trade involving Schneider would signal the Devils planning for their long-term future and would involve them receiving a nice package of prospects or picks in return.

What would the Flames have to give?

As already mentioned above, I see no way that the Flames can get Schneider without Gilles being a part of the package back. It would also be very likely that Calgary would have to include their 16th overall pick in this year’s draft.

The Devils are also in need of defensemen, so a name like Rasmus Andersson, Oliver Kylington, or even Brandon Hickey would likely be in the conversation.

With Hickey’s stock rising, he could be an interesting trade chip as the Flames do have some extra riches in their defensive prospect pool right now.

Would Gillies, Hickey, and a 1st Round Pick be enough? Maybe, but it’s hard to say as we aren’t in the General Manager’s chair (which is probably a good thing haha). Nevertheless, it’s a big price to pay.

Calgary Flames v Los Angeles Kings Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Conclusion

While Cory Schneider would make the Flames significantly better in the next few years, it will absolutely come at a large cost.

Such is the fate though of a team that needs to focus on finding ways to win now as the main part of the core starts to enter their prime.

As much as it would hurt to see Gillies or Hickey go, especially if they end up being superstars in New Jersey, a very successful Flames team with Schneider would mend that wound.

It’s a big decision to make and it might never happen, but it’s an intriguing possibility. Once again, I’m glad I’m not in the GM’s chair.

Poll

Should the Flames Trade for Cory Schneider?

This poll is closed

  • 25%
    Yes
    (271 votes)
  • 36%
    No
    (384 votes)
  • 37%
    Only at the Right Price
    (396 votes)
1051 votes total Vote Now