The New Jersey Devils have one of the best problems to have in the NHL; two great goaltenders. Many teams in the NHL don’t even have one solid ‘tendie, and here are the Devils with two (maybe even three depending on how good you think Eddie Lack is).
During the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, former GM Lou Lamoriello pulled the trigger on a trade that sent the Devils’ ninth overall selection to the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for goaltending prodigy Cory Schneider. Knowing Marty Brodeur’s time was almost up, Lou set up the future of goaltending for the next few years. Ever since, Schneider has been considered the number one, but another goalie has made his case.
Keith Kinkaid went undrafted but signed an entry level deal with New Jersey after his sophomore season at Union College. Kinkaid has been with the team since the 2014-15 season and was considered the backup to Schneider. With his inconsistency and Schneider’s stellar play, Kinkaid proved his role was a backup goalie.
On January 23 of 2018, Schneider had to leave the game versus the Boston Bruins due to a groin injury. Schneider was out around 2 months and even when he came back against the San Jose Sharks, he did not look good whatsoever. But during the time Schneider was out, Kinkaid set the world on fire playing unbelievably and leading the Devils to their first playoff appearance in six years.
Schneider had offseason surgery in May to repair torn cartilage in his hip and is currently on a rehab assignment with the Binghamton Devils. So this gets people wondering, “Does Schneider automatically get the job back?”. It’s a fair discussion to have after Kinkaid struggled in the playoffs while Schneider stood on his head. As much as I think Kinkaid is overrated, I think he’s the number one, but I do think he has somewhat of a short leash. Meaning if he has a bad game or a bad period, Schneider will get the call.
Two solid NHL-level goaltenders make coaches, like John Hynes, sleep easier at night knowing there is consistency in net. What do you think? Should Schneider be handed the starter’s duties? How would you decide the playing time for both? Does Kinkaid have a short leash?