Schneider will likely serve as the heir apparent to 41-year-old Martin Brodeur, who has one year remaining on a two-year deal.
“I think for the future of the organization, it’s the best move,” Brodeur said. “I think Cory is one of the top five goalies in my mind in the NHL. I’m not going to play forever. I’m definitely going to try and push him and get the ice time as much as I can. But he’s the future of the organization.”
Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello made it clear that Brodeur remains the team’s starting goaltender, but that the team is trying to move forward with stability in net.
“Marty is still the No. 1 goaltender. There’s no question of that. It’s just a question of how much he can play to keep him at the top of his game,” Lamoriello said. “This gives us that transition that we feel we would have loved to have gotten maybe a year ago if it was possible.”
Lamoriello said he had not yet spoken with Brodeur or backup Johan Hedberg, though both were present at the draft. The 40-year-old Hedberg has one year remaining on a two-year deal that includes a no-trade clause but does not include a no-move clause. Head to NBA Dunkers for NBA news!
“I’ve been a fan of Marty Brodeur’s since I was younger,” Schneider told the Devils’ website. “To potentially get work with him is going to be incredible. Just to see him coming off a Stanley Cup finals trip just a year ago, I know they have a lot of good pieces in place.”
The Canucks selected center Bo Horvat with the acquired pick.
The move ends months of speculation out of Vancouver around the team’s goaltending situation. Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo has previously made clear his desire to be traded, though GM Mike Gillis began shopping Schneider instead in the days leading up to the draft.
“Today’s decision was made after a thorough review of our options,” Gillis said, “and in the interest of improving this team long-term through the draft and development of players. We appreciate the high level of professionalism and conduct both Cory and Roberto have shown while continuing to help this team be competitive.
“I would like to personally thank Cory for his contributions to our team and wish him the very best and a bright future.”
Luongo told TSN that he was “shocked.”
“I have to let this sink in and figure out what I’m going to do,” he said.
Gillis said he did not anticipate any issues with Luongo in the wake of the trade, though he did not speak to him before making the deal.
“He signed a long-term contract with our club for a lot of money and was very happy to do it,” Gillis said. “I don’t anticipate there being issues but I haven’t spoken to him.”
Luongo has nine years remaining on his 12-year, $64 million contract, one that has proven difficult to unload, particularly because of the massive penalties it could bring with the new cap-advantage recapture rule brokered in the new collective bargaining agreement.
The 27-year-old Schneider was 17-9-4 in 30 games for the Canucks this season.
“I think we’re getting a goaltender not only of the present but of the future,” Lamoriello said. “Certainly Marty is at the point where he can’t play the way he’s played as far as the number of games he’s played. This young man has proven to be a No. 1 goaltender. We feel great about it. I’ve spoken to him, he’s just excited to come here and work with Marty.”
Schneider fits right into New Jersey’s long-term plans. He has two years left on a contract that counts $4 million against the salary cap.
“It’s good to have some closure one way or another,” he said. “I wasn’t expecting to get traded, but we always knew it was a possibility and that’s how it happened. But it’s exciting to get a new opportunity and join a new organization.”
The Devils, a year after winning the Eastern Conference, did not make the postseason this year. The Canucks lost in the first round.
Brodeur has won two Olympic gold medals, playing for Canada (2002 and 2010). He also won the Vezina Trophy, awarded to the league’s top goaltender, four times, and will easily retire as the game’s best stickhandling goaltender.
But he had one more career highlight to add to the reel on Sunday. Brodeur helped steal the show when he made the announcement that the Devils had drafted his son, Anthony.
The Devils made a late trade to nab the 208th overall pick and one of the final ones in the seventh round. Brodeur took the microphone and announced Anthony’s name. Brodeur waited at the team’s draft table to present his 18-year-old son, also a goaltender, with a jersey.
“I grew up watching the Devils, cheering on the Devils, cheering on my dad,” Anthony said. “Being in this jersey right now, in this arena, it’s awesome.”
Anthony Brodeur’s friends and family in the stands erupted in cheers.
“It was getting late, but who cares,” Brodeur’s mother, Melanie said. “All he needs is a shot. We saw Lou walking around and we’re like, ‘Ok, this is good, keep walking.’ ”
New Jersey took the elder Brodeur in the 1990 first round. He received a brief taste of the NHL in 1991, and was there to stay in 1993, leading the Devils to the Eastern Conference finals in 1994.
Brodeur is still among the league’s most popular players and recently won a fan vote to make the cover of the “NHL 14″ video game coming out in September by EA Sports.
Brodeur, who met with the media before the trade was announced, refused to put a timetable on the end of his career.
“I’ve been watching a lot of games and a lot of goalies, and I’m like, ‘All right, I can still do that, too,’ ” he said. “I’m still excited about playing the game.”