5 First-Time Head Coaching Candidates New Jersey Devils Should Consider

The New Jersey Devils have a lot of candidates to choose from for a head coach, but should they forgo experience for someone who can bring a fresh perspective to the NHL?
2022 NCAA Division I Men's Ice Hockey Championship
2022 NCAA Division I Men's Ice Hockey Championship / Maddie Meyer/GettyImages
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The New Jersey Devils biggest mistake would be taking a chance on the wrong coach. However, sometimes it’s the best thing a team can do by giving a head coach a chance. Look at the Colorado Avalanche, who was hired in 2016 after winning championships in the IHL and the AHL. The Carolina Hurricanes hired Rod Brind’Amour after he spent a few seasons as an assistant on the staff. In 2013, the Tampa Bay Lightning hired Jon Cooper after he showed his greatness with their AHL affiliates. Heck, look what the Washington Capitals got from Spencer Carberry. A first-time head coach might be just what the Devils need to take this team to the next level. 

There are always a ton of prospective coaches who deserve a chance. They are champions in the AHL. They are dominant in the NCAA. These coaches could be superstars behind the bench in Europe or the KHL. However, they are just waiting for that chance on the biggest stage in hockey. The NHL is special, and the Devils could be special. This is an opportunity a new head coach would salivate to take on. 

1. Ryan Warsofsky
Current Job: San Jose Sharks Assistant

Nobody expected a San Jose Sharks assistant from this team to turn their job into a head coaching gig, but Ryan Warsofsky is a great head coach. He’s a former Calder Cup champion, winning the AHL title in 2022. It was the second championship out of the pandemic. Warsofsky could have theoretically won the championship in 2021, as well. 

Warsofsky was dominant with the Hurricanes AHL affiliate. He went on to join David Quinn’s staff in San Jose, finding himself in the middle of a rebuild. He actually interviewed for the head coaching position, but when the Sharks went for someone with experience, Warsofsky accepted an assistant role. That shows he’s at least someone they want in the building.

He’s also very young, so he could grow as the Devils grow. At just 36 years old, he would be the youngest head coach in the NHL. It’s not unprecedented, as more than 100 head coaches in history would be younger than Warsofsky at his debut, but it would still be an incredible hire.