Cory Schneider continues to recover from offseason hip surgery, and there are no assurances he'll be ready to go when the season kicks off in October.
The New Jersey Devils netminder underwent hip surgery in early May and was given a five-month recovery period, meaning his return to the ice will cut it close with the start of the regular-season schedule.
The Devils' first game comes Oct. 6 against the Edmonton Oilers, but it will be hosted in Sweden as part of the NHL Global Series.
"Whether it's September or October, we are not going to rush Cory," Devils general manager Ray Shero told Mike Morreale of NHL.com. "We have Keith Kinkaid, and that's why we re-signed Eddie Lack.
"(Schneider) played through (the injury), but at the end of the year it was something he had to have done. Unfortunately, it's a common injury with goalies nowadays. It was affecting other parts of his game. Hopefully everything is taken care of and put in the rearview mirror when he does return."
A nagging groin injury - coupled with impressive play from backup Kinkaid - limited Schneider to just 40 appearances last season, in which he posted a 17-16-6 showing and a .907 save percentage.
Kinkaid then got the start in the postseason against the Tampa Bay Lightning before Schneider stepped in for Game 2. In the playoffs, Schneider's play was much more formidable, as he finished with a 1.78 goals-against average and an incredible .950 save rate across four games.
Schneider, 32, is signed through the next four seasons at a $6-million cap hit.