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When the New Jersey Devils traded their first-round pick to the Vancouver Canucks for Cory Schneider, it was done under the pretense that Martin Brodeur would remain the starting goaltender in New Jersey in 2013-14.
Cory Schneider, however, is too talented to stay on the bench all year, and with 22 back-to-back game sets, he has already figured to play plenty this year.
Exactly how many games Schneider will actually start remains unclear.
At the start of training camp, head coach Pete DeBoer suggested to Tom Gulitti of The Bergen Record that Schneider would be able to earn more time between the pipes.
When he was asked how he would figure out the two goaltenders' playing time, DeBoer stated that "those things sort themselves out."
That quote makes it seem like the Brodeur/Schneider dynamic will be more of a competition than a timeshare. At the very least, playing time will be decided based on performance.
If that is the case, Schneider may have an advantage.
It is unwise to put too much stock in preseason play, but to this point, Schneider has been better than Brodeur. That may not continue into the regular season, but there is little doubt regarding Schneider's high ceiling.
On top of that, the years have recently begun to treat Marty with cruelty.
While he has still been reliable when healthy, it has recently become a challenge for him to stay on the ice. He has missed at least 20 games in each of the past three seasons.
Granted, backup Johan Hedberg had been playing to relieve Brodeur even when he was healthy, Schneider figures to play a bigger role in 2013-14 than Moose.
Although Brodeur is currently slated as the opening night starter, if he is sidelined at any point—which recent history suggests he will be—the Devils may wind up with their new franchise goaltender ahead of schedule.