The 32-year-old Schneider is recovering after off-season hip surgery. He has not played in any of the Devils’ eight games this season. Keith Kinkaid has started and played in all eight games so far.
Schneider, an 11-year NHL veteran, is in his sixth season with New Jersey after spending the first five years of his career as a backup with the Vancouver Canucks. Schneider was traded to New Jersey on the day of the 2013 draft for the No. 9 overall selection. In 2014-15, Schneider was a workhorse, playing in 69 of the Devils’ 82 games, posting a 2.26 goals-against average and winning 26 starts.
Schneider skated with the Devils during Monday’s practice after spending the last week doing rehab work with the Devils’ AHL affiliate in Binghamton.
“It’s been a long road back,” said Schneider, who played in only 40 games last season because of injury. “I did things the right way and didn’t rush it. That got me through it. I just needed to get some live action first before coming back here. It’s fun to be back with the guys.”
Schneider will accompany the team to Tampa, but will serve as Kinkaid’s backup for Tuesday’s game. Devils coach John Hynes didn’t put a timetable on Schneider’s return to the net.
“He’s going to play at some point,” Hynes said. “We’ll take it day by day. We have a lot of games coming up, so he’ll get in. I just don’t know when. But he will not start tomorrow (Tuesday).”
Hynes was encouraged by what he saw from Schneider in Monday’s practice.
“Cory looked good,” Hynes said. “It was the first time he had his own net.”
Schneider knows he’s not in any rush to return.
“Keith has done a great job in goal,” Schneider said. “When he needs a break, I have to be ready. It’s a big trip. It has been tough just watching the guys. But it’s fun to be able to compete again. I know I won’t be 100 per cent for a while, but if I stay on top of things with my rehab, I can play. I’m more excited than anything.”