The New Jersey Devils have relieved John Hynes of his coaching duties effective immediately, announcing that assistant coach Alain Nasreddine will serve as interim head coach. Peter Horachek, who had been scouting for the team, will move behind the bench as an assistant. GM Ray Shero released a statement:
John played an integral role in the development of this team in establishing a foundation for our future and we are grateful for his commitment, passion and unmatched work ethic. John is a respected leader, developer of talent and friend which makes this decision difficult. We are a team that values and takes pride in accountability to the results we produce. We are collectively disappointed in our performance on the ice and believe changes were needed, starting with our head coach. I have been consistent in my desire to build something here in New Jersey that earns the respect of teams throughout the league and pride in our fans. That is not where we were heading and for me to tolerate anything less was not acceptable.
Hynes was hired by the Devils in 2015 after several years as the head coach of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in the AHL. He took the team to the playoffs unexpectedly in 2018, but has finished in seventh or eighth in the Metropolitan Division three times and has the team there once again. After a summer that saw the team acquire big names in P.K. Subban, Jack Hughes, Nikita Gusev and Wayne Simmonds, the Devils are actually playing at a worse pace than last year’s debacle that landed them the first-overall selection.
Moving on from Hynes won’t surprise many. With a 150-159-45 record over parts of five seasons, the team has not performed well enough for the front office to stay the course with this group. He becomes the third fired head coach of the season after the dismissals to Mike Babcock in Toronto and Bill Peters in Calgary.
Nasraddine meanwhile has never been a head coach at any level and actually got his start behind the bench as an assistant for Hynes in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. The long-time defenseman did play 74 games in the NHL and more than 800 in the AHL however, making him no stranger to professional hockey.