New Jersey Devils Head Coach Candidate: Guy Boucher


On Wednesday rumors were swirling following the announcement that the Toronto Maple Leafs had reached an agreement with Mike Babcock. With the Leafs getting arguably the best head coach candidate on the market, the dominoes appear to be falling. One of those dominoes could be with the New Jersey Devils Head Coach vacancy. Via a report from Louis Jean of TVA Sports, New Jersey Devils GM Ray Shero has had preliminary talks with Guy Boucher.

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Guy Boucher was formerly the Head Coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning from 2010-2013. After being fired by GM

Steve Yzerman

he went over to Switzerland in January 2014 to coach SC Bern. Boucher has a good history of turning bad teams around in his short coaching career. In his first season with Tampa Bay he was able to turn them around from a 34-36-12 team in 2009-2010 to 46-25-11 the next season. Recently with SC Bern he turned them around from a 70-point team to a 96-point team in just one season.

Guy Boucher initially flew under the radar for coaching vacancies this season, but recently his name has been mentioned more frequently. Besides being linked to the New Jersey Devils, Guy Boucher was also recently linked to the Toronto Maple Leafs per this tweet from Louis Jean of TVA Sports.

It appears as though the Leafs were more than happy naming Guy Boucher their next head coach. That was until Mike Babcock became available for them to sign. With the Leafs in need of a major turnaround it’s easy to see why they’d pursue a coach like Boucher. Now that the Leafs have their man, the New Jersey Devils and GM Ray Shero appear to have the same feeling about Guy Boucher.

Granted these discussions are only preliminary for right now, Guy Boucher is a coach who I feel would be a great fit in New Jersey. For a little more input on how Guy Boucher would fit with the New Jersey Devils we reached out to our friends at Bolts By The Bay for more info. Here is some of the notable things they had to say about Boucher from his time in Tampa.

  • “Boucher was always a defensive minded coach who believed in building things from the net outward. He’s always trying to be innovative and create new strategies, no matter how outrageous.”
  • “He’s most know for being the first coach to make a serious attempt at using the 1-3-1 aka the neutral zone trap. It was largely unsuccessful and is no longer used in the NHL.”
  • “If the other team did manage to get through the 3 player trap in the neutral zone it almost always resulted in an odd-man rush. With this system the transition game is virtually non-existent. The offense would consist of dump and chase with hopes of recovering the puck to start a cycle.”
  • “Boucher coaches teams the same way the Devils have been coached for years. He doesn’t care about having 5+ goal games or making it exciting, he cares about winning. He does that by frustrating the hell out of the other team to the point where they lose confidence in their offense.”

When asked which notable coach Guy Boucher is most similar to, BBTB said John Tortorella.

“He frequently yells at players, is fairly short-tempered and emotional.”

In my opinion I feel that Boucher would be a great fit for the New Jersey Devils. He’s a coach who can demand more from his players and uses a system similar to the New Jersey Devils traditional system. He now knows the 1-3-1 won’t work in the NHL and won’t try to use it again.

Given his success in Tampa Bay and with SC Bern he deserves a second shot in the NHL. Will that second shot come with New Jersey? We will find out soon enough…

Next: Dan Bylsma: New Jersey Devils Head Coach Candidate