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Former Devils Goaltender ‘Not Thrilled’ with Jacob Markstrom Trade

Former New Jersey Devils goaltender, Cory Schneider, explained why he was “not thrilled” with the Jacob Markstrom trade from a New Jersey perspective.

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Cory Schneider tends the net for the New Jersey Devils in 2014. // Credit: Lisa Gansky, Flikr

The New Jersey Devils’ acquisition of Jacob Markstrom has certainly received mixed reviews. Although, the consensus — at least via X (formerly Twitter) — seems to be that many believe the Devils finally added a legitimate starting goaltender for a reasonable price. However, not everyone was star struck by Markstrom trade that was a long time coming, including former Devils goaltender, Cory Schneider.

On a segment with NHL Network, Schneider both endorsed and criticized the Markstrom trade, giving props to General Manager Tom Fitzgerald for being aggressive, yet citing the 34-year-old goaltender’s age as a short-term band-aid solution.

“I applaud Tom Fitzgerald for being aggressive. He said he was gonna address it. He did,” Schneider explained. “I don’t think he overpaid. So that’s a win for the Devils. But we’ll see. You know, perhaps he comes in and plays lights out again after last season and continues that. But you know, at the same time, you’re already looking in two years. What are we gonna do about our goaltending situation?”

However, Schneider leaned more toward criticizing the acquisition of the 34-year-old goaltender, citing regression in the last few years of his game and explaining the limitations a goaltender experiences by 35 years old, which Markstrom will be in January.

“The reason I’m not too thrilled about it is it seems like a short term stopgap. He’s gonna be 34 going on 35 and goalies who are 6-foot-6 don’t tend to play into their late 30s.

“I just think the wear and tear, it’s just a lot of moving parts and leverage. You saw Ben Bishop broke down a little bit at the end of his career, an incredible career, Devin Dubnyk from the network, those big guys, it’s hard for you to keep moving in the same way in your late 30s,” said Schneider. “I’m not saying he can’t for another year or two, but it just seems like a one or two year solution. And then it’ll be 36-37. At that point, are you going to commit to him or, are we going to restart this entire search in two years.”

Schneider is perhaps also drawing from his own experience as a goaltender who was an elite netminder that began to decline by age 30.

Schneider didn’t play in the NHL during the 2020-21 season after injuries and inconsistencies ended his Devils career. He signed an NHL contract with the New York Islanders in January 2021, yet was never quite the same. Between 2010 and 2016, Schneider accrued an excellent .926 SV% and 2.13 GAA in 260 games across six seasons.

However, in the following five seasons from age 30 and on, Schneider’s numbers declined, posting a .905 SV% and 2.96 GAA in 140 games.

To Schneider’s credit, Markstrom’s raw statistics have declined since 2021-22 when he nearly won the Vezina Trophy. However, Markstrom was still quite strong last season, making an NHL ninth-best 13.7 goals saved above expected.

The former Devils goaltender did at least concede that Fitzgerald paid an appropriate price for Markstrom.

I think it was it was a very manageable price to pay,” Schneider said. “Kevin Bahl is a good depth defenseman. He brings some nastiness and size to their back end, so they’re gonna have to find a way to replace that. But he wasn’t a top four guy for them. That first round pick, I know they’re planning on being better with Markstrom in net. So that’s going to be a mid to late first, hopefully even later than that. So wasn’t a terrible price to pay.”

Schneider isn’t wrong about the Devils just kicking the can down the road on their goaltending situation for two seasons. However, by then who is to say Nico Daws, Akira Schmid, or Isaac Poulter doesn’t develop into New Jersey’s next starter?

For now, that’s Fitzgerald’s problem in the summer of 2026.

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