New Jersey Devils Dodge A Travis Green Sized Bullet

Multiple reporters say that Travis Green will become the next head coach of the Ottawa Senators. The former interim head coach for the New Jersey Devils is moving on, forcing the Devils to take a fresh start.
New Jersey Devils v Montreal Canadiens
New Jersey Devils v Montreal Canadiens / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages

Since the 2013-14 season, the New Jersey Devils have been through many head coaches. Seven in the last 10 seasons, if you include interim head coaches. Eight if you want to count all three of Adam Oates, Scott Stevens, and Lou Lamoriello. The Devils will need to make it another one this upcoming season as former Interm Head Coach Travis Green was reportedly named the head coach of the Ottawa Senators. This means that both men who coached the Devils this past year have new jobs, as Lindy Ruff is back in Buffalo.

What does this mean for the Devils? It means nothing but good things. Ruff and Green are both gone after both, quite frankly, underperformed as the man in charge behind the bench this season. Ruff could never get the team started on time, as the Devils led the league in first goals against. Green was hired to be an Andrew Brunette type, a replacement just in case they fired Ruff, who can run the power play. Well, Green did have to take over, and the results were lackluster.

Under Green, the Devils went 8-12-1, not even a sniff of the "new coach bump" other teams get when they fire their coaches. The Devils still were not ready to start games on time, almost tying the NHL record for most first goals allowed in a game for a season. The Devils also blew some leads late under Green, something Ruff had figured out in his tenure in New Jersey.

The Devils had a playoff spot handed to them on a silver platter in the last few weeks of the season. Yet, they missed the playoffs by 10 points and could not beat teams they should have easily handled. While that happened under Ruff, Green's new system and coaching tactics did not change much. In fact, some would say the Devils got worse under Green.

What does that mean right now for the Devils? It means they are forced to get a fresh start behind the bench. While a fifth head coach in Jack Hughes' early career may not be ideal, it is something that can benefit the Devils. A fresh voice is needed from time to time, and right now is that time for the Devils.

A whole offseason with a new system should benefit the Devils as a whole. Knowing what worked and what did not for the Devils this past season should be what Tom Fitzgerald should be looking for. Someone who can maximize the strengths of the team put in front of him.

Will it be Craig Berube? Berube famously turned around a St. Louis Blues team to a Stanley Cup victory in 2019. Berube will definitely hold his players accountable, which is something that is definitely needed in Newark. There were many times when lineup regulars would make routine mistakes and not be held accountable. A player like Alex Holtz could score a goal and be benched for poor defensive play literally minutes from each other.

Could the new face be Jay Woodcroft? Woodcroft's system relies on speed, something the Devils have plenty of. They thrive off the rush and it worked last year with Ruff, but for some reason everything took three steps back this season. Woodcroft was fired in Edmonton, however it could be said poor goalie play more than anything lead to his firing there.

Could it possibly be Pittsburgh Penguins Head Coach Mike Sullivan? That is doubtful, as he has an extension kicking this season, and the Devils should never trade for a head coach. They need to trade assets for a goalie, it makes no sense why they would give up so much in a trade for a coach when good free agent coaches are out there.

Whoever the Devils bring in as their next head coach, fans should be happy it is not Travis Green. The excitement as to who it becomes now is exciting. This is a hire that Tom Fitzgerald needs to nail. Otherwise, he could be in the hot seat as well. It needs to be said that Fitzgerald signed an extension this past season, so it would need to be a very bad hire for ownership to think about moving on. Green would have been that hire.