New Jersey Devils Coaching Search Seems To Be Down To Two

After weeks of an expansive coaching search which includes most of the former NHL head coaches that are available, it seems like the Devils have their hopes tied to two former head coaches to be their next bench boss.
Toronto Maple Leafs v Montreal Canadiens
Toronto Maple Leafs v Montreal Canadiens / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages

The New Jersey Devils biggest news is the opening at head coach. After Travis Green took the head coach opening in Ottawa, the Devils opening became the talk of the NHL world. It seemed like the most desirable spot to land in the NHL. Then, the Toronto Maple Leafs fired Sheldon Keefe. And now, Toronto's opening is all that most analysts want to talk about when not talking about the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

However, the Devils will be back at the top of the conversation now that they are coming closer to hiring their next head coach. It sounds like the Devils are down to two options: three if you believe Mike Sullivan is an option or if Rod Brind'Amour might move on from the Hurricanes (which we don't anymore). Both options have severe ties to the Maple Leafs, and that's why the conversation will turn.

The first candidate is Sheldon Keefe. The Devils received permission to interview Keefe according to The Athletic's Pierre LeBrun.

He obviously came in very late in the process, but the Devils showed immediate interest. Now, pretty quickly, the Devils seem to have him at the top or close to the top of their list of candidates. It makes sense. Keefe has been incredibly successful everywhere except in the first round of the playoffs with the Maple Leafs. If he was still an AHL coach, the Devils fans would be begging for him.

The other popular option is Craig Berube. The 2019 Stanley Cup champ with the St. Louis Blues has been near or at the top of the Devils list since Green took he job in Ottawa. However, Berube is also one of the most coveted names available. The Maple Leafs are reportedly very interested in him, and some analysts believe they'd need to cut their coaching search short if they wanted to hire him.

Some are asking why the Devils, if they wanted to hire Berube, haven't just done it by now. That's a complicated question. For one, Berube might want to see what the Maple Leafs offer before accepting anything. The Devils might also want to see how everything falls into place.

We already mentioned Sullivan and Brind'Amour as unlikely options, but unlikely is not impossible. Maybe the Devls want to know EVERYTHING that is happening with the market. Is there a possibility the Bruins could make a change? Again, incredibly unlikely, but until Berube tells the Devils a decision must be made, there's no rush.

Then, there's Jay Woodcroft. The former Edmonton Oilers coach seems to find himself in "other" territory. That doesn't mean Woodcroft won't become the the next Devils coach. It just means he has to wait the longest to learn his fate.

We're not surprised Tom Fitzgerald is taking this long to make his decision. This could be the decision that makes or breaks his time as Devils GM. If he gets this right, he could become a legend with the fanbase. It could get him a Stanley Cup ring, well, another one.

Either way, we expect to know what the Devils are doing by the end of this week. After they add the head coach, the rest of the offseason can go in full force.