Firing Ray Shero Will Continue New Jersey Devils Trend Upward

(Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images)
(Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images) /

Ray Shero has been fired by the New Jersey Devils Sunday evening, with Tom Fitzgerald taking over as Interim General Manager. The timing of this firing is a bit shocking, coming 44 games into the season and just before puck drop against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Now, you really cannot say the firing in itself is shocking. The New Jersey Devils have underperformed all season long with the roster being incomplete.

Generally, when a General Manager is hired he has 3-5 years before it is time to move on, and the New Jersey Devils ownership felt it was that time. Everyone can agree that the past five seasons have not been the easiest for Devils fans. With one playoff appearance in five years, one can argue that without the MVP season of Taylor Hall he doesn’t even get that. Failing to keep Taylor Hall definitely played a part in him losing his job. Hall had no interest in playing for this team after discussions between his agent and Shero had taken place.

Aside from two number-one overall picks during the Ray Shero era, there has not been much success in the draft for New Jersey. When in reality Shero’s team could have really caught a gem in the 2015 draft when we ultimately took Pavel Zacha at sixth overall. That was the start of terrible drafting by Ray Shero during his tenure aside from Nico Hischier and Jack Hughes. The New Jersey Devils could have picked almost any one of the ten players drafted after Zacha.

Drafting bad could be canceled out by good free agent signings. There have only been a handful of signings during his tenure. None of which were any big name signings. Therefore, there really has not been any progress made on building the core of the Devils. Even last season we traded players like Marcus Johansson, and Brian Boyle. Shero traded them for picks instead of re-signing them for a longer term. He ended up repeating history with Taylor Hall this season.

This rebuild should have been completed prior to this season. Prolonging this process of flipping high level players for picks and AHL talent is old. Ultimately, you have to believe this is the reason Ray Shero lost his job. His attitude toward building a team seemed as if he’d rather trade for players then sign them to save cap space. The core of this team needs to be built around, not flipped for draft picks all the time.

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The Devils need proven talent around the likes of Nico Hischier, Kyle Palmieri, Jack Hughes, Blake Coleman, and Nikita Gusev on the front end. Defensively build around Sami Vatanen, P.K. Subban, Will Butcher, and Damon Severson because they can continue to grow. It is not easy to play when you’re being tossed around in trade talks all season. The core is there for this New Jersey Devils team, including Mackenzie Blackwood who with several additions could thrive as a goaltender who shuts down the opposition when being limited to 100 shots in three games.

Ultimately, Ray Shero did not get the job done. The trades were getting old and the losses even more frustrating. It was time for change, any boss in charge for five years of a company or business will lose his job if there is no progress made. Going forward look for the New Jersey Devils owners to put someone in charge who wants to have longevity in the core players that are here. The New Jersey Devils need to be aggressive in Free Agency to make this team much better now and in the future. The Devils ownership made the right decision because we could not afford another Ray Shero “rebuild”.