Cory Schneider exudes the confidence of a man in control of his own destiny.
Even with speculation swirling around the Vancouver Canucks uncertain goaltending situation, Schneider doesn’t appear to be in any rush to see it resolved. He’s scheduled to become a restricted free agent if a deal isn’t reached with the Canucks by Sunday – a scenario that could lead to another team extending him an offer sheet.
But that doesn’t seem to be of much concern to a man being pegged as the NHL’s next elite goalie.
“Either way, I’m sure I’ll end up with a contract,” Schneider said during the NHLPA meetings this week in Chicago. “I don’t think that’s an issue. I think if I was facing the possibility of not being in the league next year I’d be a little more concerned. I’m comfortable with the idea that it may not be a deal now or in the next week, but eventually I think something will happen.
“I think you just have to remain patient and you can’t panic.”
There simply isn’t enough room in the same crease for both Schneider and Roberto Luongo, who still has 10 years remaining on his contract and is being shopped by the Canucks.
Schneider could elect to see how things go on that front before signing a long-term deal with Vancouver. He also has the option of pushing for a one-year contract, which would take him to unrestricted free agency next summer – assuming the rules on eligibility aren’t changed in the new collective bargaining agreement.
The 26-year-old from Marblehead, Mass., is one of the younger players who has decided to take an active role in those discussions this summer. Schneider’s interest in labour relations dates back to his days at Boston College and prompted him to join the NHLPA’s negotiating committee for CBA talks.
“This next agreement’s going to shape the majority of my career hopefully that I play in the NHL,” said Schneider. “I think it’s important that you can make an impact on it or help in some way. I studied finance in college and I’ve always been really interested in collective bargaining, whether it’s the NHL or the NBA or the NFL that just happened.
“You figure if you can make a difference in any way that you should.”
Schneider earned US$900,000 last year and is due for a hefty raise.
He has an appreciation for the sacrifices made by NHL players who came before him, particularly those who sat out the entire 2004-05 season while battling the league during the last round of negotiations.
“What they did for us, in terms of getting the best they could, and thinking of the future of the league and not just themselves, I think you have to sort of step up and carry on that tradition and fill the void of guys who are maybe retiring or stepping out of the PA,” said Schneider.
“I know that was a tough year for everyone involved in hockey,” he added. “I was still in college so it didn’t impact me financially the way it did for some of these guys. You know what, they did what they felt was right. They didn’t feel they had a deal that was fair to them and they made the ultimate sacrifice.”