The New Jersey Devils have taken a big step backwards from their impressive 2017-18 campaign, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be making a change behind the bench. The Devils have signed head coach John Hynes to a multi-year extension. Hynes’ current deal was set to expire at the end of this season. Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet adds that he expects GM Ray Shero to also receive an extension. Shero explained his decision to extend the New Jersey head coach:
John’s leadership has been instrumental in building both culture and systems that are focused on the development of our players. He has cultivated a group of veteran leaders, while helping our young players develop and gain experience. John is to be commended for the progress the team has made under his direction and this commitment shows that we are confident in the role he will play in our future success.
Hynes has been behind the bench for the Devils since 2015 and carries a .505 winning percentage in that time. He led the club to a playoff berth last season just a year removed from winning the first-overall draft pick, but has seen his team struggle to find that kind of success this time around. The Devils currently sit 15-17-7 and are near the very bottom in the Eastern Conference standings.
Still, last year was a completely unexpected occurrence in the rebuild and shouldn’t put expectations too high for this club. Shero and Hynes have been patient in their approach, and are trying to set up the team for long-term success. That success could very well hinge on this offseason, when Taylor Hall and Nico Hischier could both potentially negotiate long-term extensions. The pair of star forwards are signed through the 2019-20 season but no further, with Hall scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent following next season.
In fact, only Cory Schneider, Damon Severson and Miles Wood are signed for longer than two years following this season, meaning Hynes and Shero can build and mold this roster as they see fit. Whether the team is willing to spend their ample cap space is still to be seen, but there was no reason to move on from Hynes at this point.