The New Jersey Devils aren’t waiting around to get a jump on their coaching search, despite the NHL still holding out hope that the rest of the 2019-20 season will be completed at some point. Pierre LeBrun reported on today’s Insider Trading for TSN that the Devils have interviewed several candidates for the position including former Vegas Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant. As LeBrun points out, that interview was conducted by GM Tom Fitzgerald, who is also only operating under an interim tag after Ray Shero’s dismissal earlier this season.
Alain Nasreddine, who took over as interim head coach when John Hynes was fired, is also still a candidate for the full-time position. Nasreddine has actually posted a 19-16-8 record with the Devils since taking over, much better than his predecessor and perhaps a reason he should be considered moving forward.
Gallant though is a big fish on the market, as we discussed in one of our recent PHR Panels. He was fired after just two and a half seasons with the Golden Knights, despite taking them to the Stanley Cup Final in year one and the playoffs again in year two. Gallant has a career .550 winning percentage as a head coach, which is actually brought down considerably by his first stint behind the bench with the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Landing a coach of that stature would certainly be a big step for the Devils who appear to be on the right track towards competitiveness once again, even though their chance at making the playoffs this season faded quite quickly. With two first-overall selections down the middle in Nico Hischier and Jack Hughes, three first-round picks to make this season and several high-end prospects ready to soon make an impact there are hopefully better times ahead in New Jersey.