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EXCLUSIVE: Catching Up with Goaltender Cory Schneider

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Cory Schneider, New York Islanders

As the summer came and went, there was no information regarding Cory Schneider and his return to the New York Islanders organization. But a few days before the start of training camp, Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello told us that Schnieder would indeed be back with the organization, his third with the club.

“Cory will be coming back. And you know he’s an outstanding veteran, did a great job in mentoring just the young players. And he’ll be certainly in the minors to help the players along, and well, you will see him in training camp.”

Two days later, the Islanders officially announced that Cory Schneider had signed a one-year, two-way deal worth 750K (NHL), 400K (AHL).

READ MORE: Starting Point’, Initial Line Combos, D Pairings & More

After the first day of training camp, I caught up with Cory Schneider to get his thoughts on returning to the organization and what it means to be a leader and a mentor in Bridgeport.

“Yeah, you know, I felt really comfortable here the last couple of years and last year even in the minors to get a chance to play some games,” Schneider said. “I pretty much spent almost two years without playing, so it was nice to get that opportunity just to compete and get some game time, and I feel a lot better already in camp here than I did the last year, just having come off a season where I had a routine and played regularly.”

“I wasn’t sure what to expect this summer, but I was happy to come back, when they wanted me back, so it worked out very well.”

Last season down in Bridgeport, Cory Schneider played in 30 games, as he posted a .921 SV%% with a 2.71 GAA. He split time with 22-year-old goaltending prospect Jakub Skarek, which he will likely do again this upcoming season and continue to serve as a mentor.

“I understand the drill. I know they’re trying to develop guys and give guys like Jakub some time to play and that’s what you got to do,” Schnieder said. “There’s a lot of things to like about him. He’s a big kid, he works really hard, and his work ethic is incredible. So I think, you know, for him, he’s making strides. There were some stretches last year when he was playing really, really well for us. So, you know, he wasn’t afraid to ask questions and to pick and prod me a little bit on things that he can maybe improve upon and not that I have all the answers, but, I try to give him my insight and use the experience I have to help him through things.”

“But everyone’s different, and you know, he’s like I said, he’s got a lot of tools, and if he can put them all together here and have a good camp and season, I definitely think he’s got a chance to play in the league one day.”

For Schneider, an NHL veteran with over 400 games under his belt, a major injury during his time with the New Jersey Devils derailed his career. His inability to recover fully from a lower-body injury led to the buyout of his contract in New Jersey, a player that Lou Lamoriello acquired from the Vancouver Canucks back in 2013.

When Schneider was bought out by the Devils in Oct. of 2020, Lamoriello, at the helm in New York, gave Schneider a chance to resurrect his career. He spent the shortened 2020 season on the Islanders practice squad, before getting consistent playing time, as he mentioned above.

On Apr. 4, Cory Schnieder made his way back to an NHL crease as Ilya Sorokin was dealing with an upper-body injury, while Semyon Varlamov had started the three games prior.

Hist start, a 27-save effort, gave the Islanders their fourth win in a row, a 4-3 win over his former team, the New Jersey Devils. Following that game, Schneider was emotional, along with his teammates, as they knew just how much work the veteran put in to get back to the NHL–even if it was just for one game.

I asked Schneider how that milestone felt, even months later and how much confidence it gave him.

“It had been so long since I played, it felt like my first game again. It felt almost foreign at that level,” Schneider said. “But, I felt really good about my game in Bridgeport, leading up to that and, my opportunity, I just gotta wait and be patient and thankfully they gave me a shot, and obviously it just happened to be in Jersey against the Devils, which made it a little extra interesting.”

“But for me, just getting back to the NHL and playing in a game again, you never take it for granted. [I] played over four hundred games in the league and everyone is special. So I think it put things in perspective a little bit, just what an incredible league it is, what a privilege is to play against these guys and work with them, and like I said, that every game, it’s an incredible experience. I just tried to soak it up and enjoy it, and you know, play for my family who kind of helped me through all this the last few years and, you know, kind of do it for them a little bit.”

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