Pro: Saving Jobs
The number-one pro for this scenario is this could save Tom Fitzgerald’s and Lindy Ruff’s jobs. Fitzgerald talked about evaluation during his end-of-the-year press conference. He’s making a lot of money to have his finger on the pulse of this organization. It’s been nothing but disappointment basically since Harris-Blitzer took over. Is it the owners’ fault? It doesn’t seem like they’ve asked the organization to avoid spending money, but who knows what’s happening behind closed doors.
The owners have shown they aren’t worried about firing coaches or executives early in their tenure. They came in with Lou Lamoriello, but they eventually hired Ray Shero. He lasted just a few seasons before he was fired. The ownership group decided to hire Fitzgerald, who came over with Shero from the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Devils interviewed a ton of candidates, but they eventually went with the internal candidate. Does that give Fitzgerald a longer leash? If anything, the pandemic is what does that. However, ownership wants wins, and Fitzgerald has to deliver them.
Trading the second-overall pick would result in wins now (almost definitely). The Devils need wins. They probably need to make the playoffs to really show the plan is working. Look at the Philadelphia 76ers. They had five bad seasons before they started winning. The same will likely be the expectation with the Devils. It’s now been four seasons since the 2018 playoff appearance. Does Fitzgerald really want to chance it to see if he’s get that fifth season of playoff-less hockey, especially with what the Rangers are doing right now? The Devils winning will save jobs.