It seems like it’s all but a done deal.
New York Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello said that there was a good chance that Cory Schneider would sign with the team. Multiple reports earlier in the day on Monday indicated that the Schneider and the Islanders had come to an agreement on a one-year deal for the 34-year-old goaltender.
The signing was first reported by The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun and later confirmed by Craig Custance of The Athletic. It would be the Islanders first free-agent signing since the market opened on Friday.
“I had Cory in New Jersey and I think that he’s trying to resurrect his career,” Lamoriello said during a Zoom call following the trade of Devon Toews to Colorado. “I’ve had several conversations with Cory. That rumor I think will come to fruition.”
Schneider was bought out by the New Jersey Devils ahead of free agency after he was placed on waivers on Thursday. The 34-year-old had two years left on a seven-year, $42 million deal, which included a no-trade clause, he signed in New Jersey in 2014.
Lamoriello traded for Schneider at the 2013 NHL draft during his time as general manager in New Jersey. Schneider has struggled to live up to the contract he signed during his time with New Jersey as he has struggled with injuries over the years.
The decision to buyout Schneider will cost New Jersey a $2 million cap hit over the next four years.
“It’s no secret where our goaltending has been over the last couple years, and this isn’t just all on Cory Schneider,” New Jersey general manager Tom Fitzgerald said, via NJ.com. “(Telling Cory about the buyout) was one of the hardest if not the hardest phone calls I had to make because of the person and what he’s done here on the ice, what he’s done off the ice, he and his wife Jill. It meant a lot to him, the New Jersey Devils. A lot. And it wasn’t a pleasant conversation, to say the least. But I felt it had to be made and it was time to move on.”
He appeared in just 13 NHL games this season with New Jersey and posted a 3-6-2 record, with a .887 save percentage and a 3.53 goals-against average. In AHL Binghamton, Schneider made 14 appearances and had a 2.71 goals-against average and a .903 save percentage.
The move is likely a depth one for the Islanders, who lost their regular AHL Bridgeport starter Christopher Gibson in free agency last week. The opportunity presents Schneider the chance to help revive his career and provide the Islanders some more goaltending depth heading into the 2020-21 season.
A less likely scenario could also include the Islanders trading Semyon Varlamov to free up cap space while having Schneider serve as a backup to rookie Ilya Sorokin. Varlamov’s name has been linked to a possible move that would help the Islanders free up some much-needed cap space.