What Does 2020 Hold For New Jersey Devils With Ray Shero Gone?

(Photo by Andy Marlin/NHLI via Getty Images)
(Photo by Andy Marlin/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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After a huge offseason which included drafting Jack Hughes, trading for Nikita Gusev, picking up P.K. Subban, and signing Wayne Simmonds we thought the race was on for the 2019-20 New Jersey Devils. Now, it’s January and Ray Shero was fired and his assistant GM, Tommy Fitzgerald will take on what his mentor left him to work with. Martin Brodeur will step in to do Hockey Operations and will communicate between Fitzgerald and ownership on every step of the way. With players like Palmieri and Vatanen both mentioned in trade rumors, it seems very unlikely that the Interim GM would follow through on what his predecessor would have done.

The short and long-term moves including players like Palmieri and Vatanen may have been the difference in business philosophy between Shero and the Devils’ owners Josh Harris and David Blitzer. We all know with Martin Brodeur and Fitzgerald at the helms of the ship here in New Jersey, they will do their due diligence in looking for the right GM, and replacement coaches on the bench. Although at this point it does seem interim head coach Alain Nasreddine has won the players over in the locker room. There is a lot of great chemistry on the ice. So what gives? What gives is the results Ray Shero didn’t yield, winning less games than he lost.

There are other factors, obviously. Ray held onto John Hynes a little too long this season. His handling of the Taylor Hall situation was not great. Many wondered if he could try for a one to three year extension to help prop up his value. It would be nice to get a bigger return on investment, but it’s too late now. At least Shero got back a conditional 3rd in 2021, Nate Schnarr, Nick Merkley, and a mammoth defenseman in Kevin Bahl. The more recent draft classes Shero has chosen is far better than what Lou Lamoriello and David Conte left behind.

The draftees that haven’t made the team out of Europe, College, Juniors etc. are still developing so there is a “to be determined” surrounding them. However, going forward with Tommy Fitzgerald, Martin Brodeur, and Paul Castron as the Director of Amateur Scouting, Gates Orlando. Who knows if Fitzy and Brodeur are able to keep both Castron and Orlando with the team after the 2020 Draft Class.

If Fitzgerald is the full-time GM, his biggest decision is finding a new head coach. He could stick to the NCAA D-1 coaches like a Tony Granato or a Scott Sandelin. Fitzy along with Brodeur could go abroad and go to the NLA, Zurich Lions to get Rikard Gronborg. Gronborg has worked very well with his native Swedish players just like with the mens team in Slovakia last summer. Coach Gronborg also embraces the utilizations of hockey analytics. With the likes of Tyler Dellow around and the Devils analytics department, saying no to Gronborg would be a mistake, especially with the style of play he utilizes. It’s a “hybrid” of North American and European structure as he told Darren Dreger on Dreger Cafe.

Next. 5 Reasons For Ray Shero's Firing. dark

It also seems like with the likes of Gronborg available for a head coaching job, the Devils looks like the perfect opportunity. Jesper Bratt, and Jesper Boqvist are both really dynamic young forwards that have come out of Sweden and the Devils have a lot of cap space. Maybe they can even get a major star like William Nylander. The final decision on coaching vacancy will be determined when Martin Brodeur and Tom Fitzgerald decide the outcome with ownership.

There are so many issues for the Devils front office to fill from the coaching staff to the people who want to stay with Fitzgerald and Brodeur going forward. Could we see Scott Stevens returning to the bench next season under this new front office with a post-Ray Shero Era? We will wait and see what the future holds to tell us the results.