In the days leading up to the opening of the NHL’s unrestricted free agent market on July 1, New Jersey Devils goaltender Cory Schneider wasn’t expecting his team to make one of the biggest splashes of the summer.
“It’s funny,” Schneider said. “I was talking to my dad and brother right around free agency and my whole career in the NHL, I’ve never been on a team that’s made that big move. … Then, literally a week later [the Devils] go out and trade for Taylor Hall.”
The Devils acquired Hall from the Edmonton Oilers for defenseman Adam Larsson on June 29. Suddenly, their offense looked far more dangerous. Hall, 24, is one of the top left wings in the League and led the Oilers last season with 26 goals and 65 points.
His arrival should provide a much-needed boost to an offense that ranked last in the NHL last season, averaging 2.22 goals per game. As the Devils’ last line of defense, Schneider, 30, welcomes any additional offensive support and, from his days facing Hall in the Western Conference with the Vancouver Canucks, understands what he can bring.
“You look and he’s a bona fide superstar in the League,” Schneider said. “We’ve had a very blue-collar mentality with our team, which we like, but it’s good to have that kind of talent and a game-breaker like that. Unfortunately it cost us Adam, who is a great player and a great person. It’s been fun watching him mature and develop. You have to give something to get something in this League, but the coaching staff and [general manager Ray Shero] have done a great job identifying our weaknesses and trying to address them.”
The Devils haven’t qualified for the Stanley Cup Playoffs since 2012, a year before Schneider arrived in a trade with the Canucks. But he can see how Shero …
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