ISS PLAYER PROFILE
Height: 6’2’’ Weight: 195
Born: March 18, 1986
Team: Phillips-Andover Academy
Write this down: Cory Schneider will be a first-round draft pick at the 2004 NHL Entry Draft in Raleigh, NC. Although Central Scouting had the New England prep standout listed seventh among North American netminders in their final rankings released last month, there is no shortage of NHL teams and other scouts who are extremely high on the Marblehead, Massachusetts native. There were questions about the level of competition Schneider faced in prep hockey over the past two seasons. But the big butterfly goalie more than answered those questions with his international play for the US Under-18 team in Slovakia last summer and in Belarus at the spring World Championships, as well as carrying his Phillips-Andover Academy team on his back all year at home.
Possessing ideal size and athleticism for a goaltender, Schneider is a fundamentally sound player who can get down to the ice quickly and recover just as fast. He plays his angles well, and reads the developing action effectively, often positioning himself correctly for the first shot, even when facing odd-man rush situations. An intelligent player with good instincts, he has also received great praise for his character and competitive drive. His teammates voted him captain for the 2003-04 season, and the faith they showed in him made a difference when he made the decision to stay at Andover for his senior season rather than leave for Green Bay of the USHL, who drafted him last summer. He has shown a lot of dedication to self-improvement and making himself a better player with each passing season.
If there are some shortcomings in Schneider’s game, it would be in the area of rebound control, where he has shown a tendency to kick pucks straight into the slot in front of him. Because he is so athletic and quick to recover, however, he often can make the second or third save, even when he fails to keep the opposition from creating subsequent scoring chances. Some scouts also feel that his glove hand isn’t his best asset, and he at times overcompensates with his positioning, leading to goals allowed.
A prep hero this season in his native New England, Schneider posted an amazing 96% save percentage in over 20 games played. The fact that he did it on a team that struggled to score goals, and won 17 games while losing only five in the process, is a real testament to his ability to stay focused and come up with the big save. He took his team to the Division I semi-final before falling to eventual champion Avon Old Farms. And, even prior to this season, Schneider was wowing scouts with standout performances at the 2002 Hockey Night in Boston showcase, as well as with Andover in 2002-03 during his first year as a varsity starter.
Even more impressive was Schneider’s international play this season, which began in August 2003 with a gold medal for the American team at the Under-18 Challenge in Slovakia. It was there that he gained admiration for the pure skill of opponents from other nations. Although his teammate Ian Keserich received more of the attention in the tournament by garnering outstanding goaltender honors, it was Schneider who played in the decisive match, shutting down a high-powered Russian attack to secure the gold.
In Minsk this past spring, Schneider was superb in action with the US team in the U-18 World Championships, where he keyed American victories over the Czech Republic and Canada, only to come up short against the Russians in a bid to come away with a pair of gold medals. Still, few would argue that without Schneider’s heroics in net, the US team would not have even sniffed a medal in the tournament.
As is the case with players coming out of the New England prep ranks, you could say that Schneider is a victim of the bias that exists among scouts when measuring a prep player’s upside compared to peers performing at the major junior or collegiate level. Schneider is arguably the third-best goaltender in the 2004 draft class behind Czech wunderkind Marek Schwarz and WJC MVP Alvaro Montoya, who at 19, already has two NCAA seasons under his belt.
Committed to Boston College, Schneider was expected to spend the 2004-05 campaign in the USHL with Green Bay until a spot at the Heights opened up for him. Given how well he performed at all levels this season, however, rumor has it that the Eagles are ready to bring him in and let him start to play and gain experience. It appears that Jerry York and BC are looking to make Schneider a big part of their club’s immediate future. On June 26, watch for a NHL team to do the same by calling his name in the first 30 selections.