New Jersey Devils Continue To Change: Hire New Assistants


The rebuild of the New Jersey Devils continued on Wednesday as GM Ray Shero announced the hiring of two new Assistant Coaches. While Alain Nasreddine‘s hiring came as no surprise due to his prior longstanding relationship with Head Coach John Hynes, the second assistant surprised many. Former Boston Bruins Assistant Coach Geoff Ward was named an Assistant Coach along with Nasreddine. The move means that Scott Stevens will not be back with the New Jersey Devils next season at least in a coaching capacity.

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I’m actually very happy with the hiring of Alain Nasreddine as it should ease the transition from the AHL to the NHL for Hynes this season. He is also a defensive minded coach and was in charge of running the penalty-kill for Hynes’ teams in the AHL so he will hope to turn things around on that front. According to an interview with Tom Gulitti, Ray Shero had the following to say about the hiring of Nasreddine and not hiring Stevens. “The decision with Alain (who will coach the defensemen) wasn’t about Scott. It was more about Alain,” Shero said.

Clearly both Ray Shero and John Hynes felt more comfortable bringing in Nasreddine instead of keeping Stevens on the coaching staff. It’s not to say that Stevens wasn’t qualified because personally I felt he deserved to be an Assistant Coach, but they decided Nasreddine was a better fit. Whether or not Stevens will remain a part of the New Jersey Devils organization in a different aspect remains to be seen, but there’s no doubt this is a big blow for him. He could be highly pursued as an Assistant Coach for another organization this off-season given his success last season.

The biggest surprise of the day has to be Geoff Ward being named the second Assistant Coach. I hadn’t heard his name mentioned in any of the Assistant Coach rumors, but he was coaching in Germany last season. He won Coach of the Year and led his team (Alder Mannheim) to a championship. While he is a surprise, I do feel that this is another positive move for the New Jersey Devils. Ward has a lot of prior coaching experience at both the NHL and AHL level and was the AHL Coach of the Year in 2002-2003. He’s shown he can work with both young prospects and NHL players which is ideal given the New Jersey Devils current roster and their rebuild.

With most of the coaching staff now in place (except for the goaltending coach), the New Jersey Devils and Ray Shero can begin to focus on the 2015 NHL Entry Draft and improving the depleted roster. He still has plenty of UFA and RFA decisions to make from last year’s New Jersey Devils roster and it won’t be an easy task. I fully expect Chris Terreri to be coming back as goaltending coach as Shero seems to like him based on his recent comments and given his extensive experience. It’s another task Ray Shero can cross off his to-do list this off-season, but there’s still plenty more to accomplish.

Next: What Is Reid Boucher Capable Of As A Devil?

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