Devils’ Schneider out five months following hip surgery
New Jersey Devils goaltender Cory Schneider will miss approximately five months after undergoing surgery to repair torn cartilage in his left hip, according to the team.
The Devils named Schneider among three key members of their roster to have undergone surgery since the team was eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs by Tampa Bay Lightning in the First Round, with Taylor Hall and Patrick Maroon also going under the knife:
— New Jersey Devils (@NJDevils) May 8, 2018
Schneider had reportedly been struggling with the injury on and off throughout the season, and the Marblehead, MA native had played well below his usual high standards during the 2017-18 season. He lost the starting job to Keith Kinkaid while struggling with a groin injury through the second half of the season, with Kinkaid also earning the start in the first two games of the series versus Tampa Bay.
While that same report said the groin injury was not related to the hip injury, it’s very common for goalies to struggling with groin injuries while compensating for torn cartilage – most often the labrum – in their hips. The Devils announcement did not specify which cartilage, though labrum tear repairs have become just part of life as a goaltender, or whether Schneider also required a micro-fracture procedure, which involves creating small fractures inside the socket wall to stimulate re-growth of cartilage.
After starting on the bench in the playoffs, Schneider replaced Kinkaid with 24:31 to play in Game 2, stopping all ten shots faced in a 5-2 loss while wearing CCM pads for the first time in his professional career. Schneider was given the nod by Devils Head Coach John Hynes for the remainder of the series, going on to post a .950 save percentage while giving up less than two goals per game on average.
New Jersey will now be hoping that former Team USA goaltender can make a full recovery and get back to his previous level of play, which has seen him post a career save percentage of .920 in 370 NHL games, with a 2.36 goals-against average. The 32-year-old still has four-years remaining on his current contract, which carries a $6 million cap hit, and is likely to play a key role if the Devils are to build on this season’s surprise run, which saw them secure a Wild Card spot in the East.
A five month recovery time will leave the Devils with some decisions to make in net, as Schneider is unlikely to be ready for the start of the 2018-19 season based on the existing timeline, though short of the micro-fracture surgery it’s become increasingly common for goalies to make it back over the summer.
Kinkaid is under contract for one more year, but Eddie Lack is set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, while Ken Appleby is a pending restricted free agent. Prospect Mackenzie Blackwood, who was selected 42nd overall by the Devils in 2015, is under contract next season however, so may get a look-in if the Devils choose to wait on Schneider rather than sign a short term replacement.