If the New Jersey Devils are committed to building a long-term project beyond Lindy Ruff’s days, they may need to think outside the box to bring in an assistant coach.
These days, the standard of NHL coaching seems to start with the name Jon Cooper. But not every coach can have a path that’s similar to or as linear as Cooper’s. Cooper will be 56 at the end of the summer, and began his coaching career 23 years ago, at the age of 33. Former Chicago Blackhawks coach Jeremy Colliton is currently 33.
Some might negatively reflect on Colliton’s time in Chicago, which may be appropriate. Colliton only made the playoffs once as a head coach with Chicago, after defeating the fifth-seed Edmonton Oilers 3-1 in the qualifying round during the COVID-19-shortened 2019-20 season. Ex-Blackhawks winger Dominik Kubalik was also a finalist for the Calder Memorial Trophy that year.
Since then, Colliton won a game during a brief stint with Team Canada’s men’s Olympic team and took over as head coach of Vancouver’s AHL Abbotsford Canucks. If Colliton is willing to take on a learning experience under Lindy Ruff, it could make for a good opportunity for both him and the Devils.