New Jersey Devils: 5 College Coaches Who Could Be Head Coach

(Photo by Bill Wippert/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)
(Photo by Bill Wippert/NCAA Photos via Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Bill Wippert/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)
(Photo by Bill Wippert/NCAA Photos via Getty Images) /

The New Jersey Devils are going to look far and wide to find their next head coach, even if they eventually hire Alain Nasreddine. Today, we’re looking at the college head coaches who may be ready to make the jump to the NHL.

The New Jersey Devils may be starting early on the head coaching search now that the season has been suspended, and the Devils season could very well likely be over. With no hockey games to focus on, there’s a lot of changes to make to send the Devils in the right direction for years to come.

College head coaches have a very controversial history in the National Hockey League. When the Dallas Stars hired Jim Montgomery directly from the University of Denver, he was only the fourth person ever to make the jump from NCAA to NHL. He was fired this past season for making inappropriate comments, of which were never really revealed. Since then, the New York Rangers hired David Quinn, but it’s too early to judge his tenure there.

The only other recent coach to jump from the NCAA to the NHL was Dave Hakstol. He actually had a decent record before he was fired after a slow start with the Philadelphia Flyers last season.

With the iffy record coming from college head coaches, should the Devils even consider it? Honestly, record wise both Hakstol and Montgomery would have the Devils celebrating, so it’s definitely something the Devils need to consider. Let’s get right into the possible contenders.

Scott Sandelin – University of Minnesota Duluth

Scott Sandelin is the most decorated head coach fo the last decade, even if he only has two titles. He’s been in the championship game three years in a row, winning the last two. Joey Anderson was on two of those teams, and he’s likely going to be on the team next year, so that’s always a plus.

Sandelin has been known to get the best out of his players, taking a defensive group of five freshman to a National Championship win in 2018. He’s a three-time champion, and has a proven pedigree of working with younger players.

Sandelin was rumored to jumping to the NHL last offseason, and then Minnesota Duluth signed him to a massive extension that takes him through 2025. The Devils would have to pay to get him out of the contract, then pay even more to give him an incentive to leave the NCAA, where he’s the big dog. Then, there’s the fact that not everyone is sold his play style can translate to the NHL. At the end of the day, the risk and money is too high to sign him, but it’s at least worth a phone call.