Report: Lindy Ruff “50/50” To Return To New Jersey Devils

New Jersey Devils head coach Lindy Ruff: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
New Jersey Devils head coach Lindy Ruff: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports /
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ESPN reporter and noted New Jersey Devils fan Greg Wyshynski reported on Tuesday that Devils head coach Lindy Ruff is “50/50” to return for another season. It might seem preposterous, but the reasoning makes sense. He’s gotten the best out of Jesper Bratt, Nico Hischier, and Jack Hughes this season. The latter of which apparently really likes playing for Ruff. One could understand why. Hughes played his first season under John Hynes, and he saw what it would look like with other coaches. Ruff gave him his best opportunity, and he repaid him with superstar status.

So, obviously this season hasn’t helped Ruff keep his job as head coach. The goalie situation was beyond his control, so he has that going for him, but the Devils have blown big leads and the power play never got better despite having four 20-goal scorers on the team for the first time in almost a decade.

It’s clear that Lindy Ruff is a good development coach. He is getting the best out of his offensive players. At times, he fixed Michael McLeod’s issues (although he’s taken a step back this season), turned Miles Wood into a legit offensive threat, and he has Yegor Sharangovich playing as a top-line winger.

There are some issues that are pretty obvious. We brought up the power play. It’s atrocious. However, the penalty kill was atrocious last season, and the Devils found a way to turn that around. Still, the Devils need someone with a different voice on the power play. Maybe the Devils make an example out of Mark Recchi, who is the assistant coach who is in charge of the PP.

We weren’t a fan of Ruff calling out specific players over the weekend when it seems they weren’t part of the problem, but the stress of the end of the season might be getting to him. It could be a temporary issue.

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It’s an interesting report, and it’s weird that the Devils’ front office needs more time to evaluate Ruff. There are a ton of coaching options available, but it’s not clear whether any of them would be better than Ruff is right now. It’s one of the biggest decisions the Devils have to make, and it could be key in getting out of the rebuild. It’s one storyline we’ll follow most closely.