New Jersey Devils: Fans Need to Be Patient With John Hynes


Going through a rebuild is always tough. The fans and players alike have the same point of view on losing: they hate it. While John Hynes isn’t going to be a Coach of the Year candidate, its worth taking a look at his resume and why he’s perfect for the Devils rebuild.

Devils fans were spoiled during Lou Lamoriello’s tenure as a General Manager in New Jersey. Since Lou took the reins in April of 1987, the Devils made the playoffs in all but 6 of the 27 subsequent seasons, taking home the Stanley Cup in three out of five tries. Additionally, Lou never took his team into a full scale rebuild, a pretty successful feat.

However, after years of being competitive, poor drafting and key guys fleeing in free agency/ jumping ship for Russia (thanks Kovy), the Devils’ roster and farm system was left void of talent. The rebuild was imminent. Lou resigned and brought in Ray Shero, who would go on to begin his regime.

He started by signing John Hynes as his Head Coach. Even though this was Hynes first gig as a bench boss in the NHL, the move was made with player development in mind.

Hynes has frustrated fans this season with his “line juggling.” Some moves have paid off and other moves that have been busts. However, Hynes track record of getting players to reach their potential is impeccable, and that will prove to make the Devils great in years to come.

USA Hockey

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From 2004-2009 Hynes played an integral role in developing some of USA’s best players. As the head coach, Hynes coached and developed players liked James van Reimsdyk, Cam Fowler and reigning NHL MVP Patrick Kane. At the 2007 NHL draft, Kane and van Reimsdyk were selected 1st and 2nd overall, marking the first time in history that the 1st and 2nd selections in a draft were both American. In his tenure with the USA developmental program he posted a record of 216-113-19-9 as the head coach of the U18 team. As the head coach of the U17 team he posted a 42–17–6 record. Additionally during that time, Hynes brought home 3 medals in 2004, 2006 and 2008.

Wilkes Barre/Scranton Penguins

From 2009-2015, Hynes spent his time behind the bench for the Pittsburgh Penguins AHL affiliate. From 2010 until 2015, Hynes was the head coach of the team taking the WBS Penguins to the playoffs all 5 years. In his tenure ins Wilkes Barre/Scranton he posted an impressive record of 231-126-27. In his 5 years, Hynes spent his time developing players, most of whom would go on to play for the Pittsburgh Penguins during the cup winning season last year. Bryan Rust, when healthy, plays on a line with Sidney Crosby, one of the best players in the world. In the year he player in the AHL under Hynes, he posted a respectable 27 points in 45 games. Not bad for a 3rd round pick.

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Another player developed under Hynes, and another of Sidney Crosby’s line mates is Connor Sheary. Under Hynes in WBS he produced 45 points in 58 games as a player that went undrafted out of college. Finally, its worth highlighting Pittsburgh’s young, breakout star, Matt Murray. Under Hynes, Murray posted an impressive 25-11-3 in 41 GP. Several of Hynes’ AHL turned NHL products are undoubtedly going to play integral roles in Pittsburgh’s attempt to repeat at Stanley Cup Champions this year.

New Jersey Devils

Hynes is currently in his second season as the Devils head coach. The Devils have had a rough season, but some of the biggest highlights has been the emergence of rookies Pavel Zacha and Miles Wood. After rough starts for both, the young guns play important roles on the Devils on the top 3 lines and on the powerplay, with Zacha scoring 5 of 8 of his goals this season on the PP.

Under Hynes, several younger players are seeing their careers doing a 180. Jon Merrill is statistically having the best year of his career. It also shows in his defensive play as he is no longer the turnstile he once was on the blueline. Remember Merrill is only 25. Defenseman take much longer to develop their game.

As far as Jacob Josefson goes, Hynes’ line juggling has JJ paired with Zacha and former 1st rounder Stefan Noesen together. That line has flourished since first coming together and Zacha and JJ are playing 10 times better than they were earlier in the season.

For those calling for Hynes’ job less than two seasons into a rebuild, I say be patient. You know what they say, good things come to those who wait.

*** All stats retrieved from***