In the talent rich draft of 1987, Mathieu Schneider watched the first two rounds go by as future stars such as Pierre Turgeon, Brendan Shanahan, Joe Sakic, and John LeClair were selected, until, finally, the Montreal Canadiens drafted Schneider 44th overall.
The 1987-88 season was a busy one for Schneider. He played with the OHL's Cornwall Royals for his second season while also playing for the United States in the World Junior Championships in 1988. He also joined the Canadiens for a brief stint in the NHL. He spent the next season with the Royals before splitting time with the Habs and their AHL affiliate in Sherbrooke for the 1989-90 campaign.
Schneider was called up to Montreal for good in 1990 where he became a solid defenceman leading the Habs blueliners in points, with 30. He later became a part of the team's 1992-93 Stanley Cup victory. He enjoyed his time in Montreal until 1995 when he was traded to the New York Islanders. After parts of two seasons with the Islanders, Schneider was dealt to the Toronto Maple Leafs in the latter stages of the 1995-96 season. For the year, he reached a career high in points with both teams collecting 54 points in 78 games.
After winning the inaugural World Cup as a member of Team USA, Schneider moved on from the Leafs and went back to his hometown New York, this time to play on Broadway with the Rangers. After two seasons with the Rangers, Schneider moved out West, signing with the Los Angeles Kings. Schneider's scoring touch returned as he collected 51 points as he fit right in to the Kings' power play. Schneider spent parts of the next two seasons with the Kings before he was acquired by the Detroit Red Wings in the latter stages of the 2002-03 season.
A three-time Olympian (1998, 2002, 2006), Schneider surpassed 1000 games played during the 2005-06 season and would compete in his 100th career postseason game with the Red Wings in 2006-07. During that postseason
Schneider broke his wrist in Game 5 of the Conference Semi Finals. Over 3 seasons with the Red Wings, Schnieder continued to prove himself as one of the premier offensive defensemen in the NHL.
In the summer of 2007, the Anaheim Ducks signed Mathieu Schneider as the club was looking to fill a hole on defense due to the possible retirement of captain Scott Niedermayer. Schneider remained with the club through the 2007-08 NHL regular season, appearing in 65 games and registering 39 points. However with the return of Niedermayer, Mathieu Schneider was placed on waivers. The veteran defenseman cleared waivers and the Ducks later traded him to the Atlanta Thrashers for blue-liner Ken Klee and wingers Brad Larsen and Chad Painchaud.
Schneider's stint in Atlanta was short lived. After just 44 games in Atlanta, the former Canadiens draft pick returned to Montreal for a second-round pick in 2009 and a third-round pick in 2010.
On March 3, 2010, the NHL trade deadline, the veteran defender was on the move again, this time sent to the Phoenix Coyotes.