Travis Green Hired by Ottawa Senators as New Head Coach

New Jersey Devils Interim Head Coach Travis Green was hired today as the new head coach of the Ottawa Senators
St Louis Blues v New Jersey Devils
St Louis Blues v New Jersey Devils / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

GM Tom Fitzgerald had given all indications that he could lift the "interim" tag from Travis Green, making him the New Jersey Devils next head coach. As it turns out, he won't get the chance, as the Ottawa Senators beat him to the punch. The Senators have hired reportedly Green as their new head coach, taking over for Senators Interim Head Coach Jacques Martin. Martin inherited the job in December after D.J. Smith was fired.

The Devils, led by Green after the March 2024 firing of former head coach Lindy Ruff, limped to the finish in the 2023-24 season. They finished just 8-12-1 under Green and missed the playoffs by 10 standings points.

This is now the second time in as many seasons that an assistant coach on Lindy Ruff's staff has joined another team as a head coach. Green joins Andrew Brunette, who left after the 2022-23 season to become the head coach of the Nashville Predators.

It is difficult to imagine that Green will have the same degree of success Brunette is having with the Predators. Brunette finished as a Jack Adams finalist for the best coach in the NHL this season, and lead the Predators to 99 points and a shocking playoff berth. The Jack Adams finalist nomination was the second of Brunette's career, as he previously came in second in 2021-2022 when he took over the Florida Panthers job after the firing of Joel Quenneville just after the season began.

The Senators decision to entrust Green with the job is puzzling, considering the lack of success he displayed in March and April this past season. With Brunette at least, there were some indications that he could succeed as an NHL head coach, as he had success in Florida and in leading one of the NHL's best offenses in 2022-23. Green, meanwhile, is 133-147-34 in parts of 6 seasons as an NHL head coach, and failed to change the powerplay scheme he was in charge of enough to correct a unit that was woeful without Dougie Hamilton. Green was previously the head coach of the Vancouver Canucks from 2017 to 2022, when he was fired and replaced by Bruce Boudreau mid-season.

Six head coach vacancies remain (including Winnipeg after Rick Bowness retired on Monday), with the first two dominos of the NHL's coaching carousel being filled by former Devils coaches. All eyes will be on Fitzgerald to see who replaces Green. Current speculation indicates that former St. Louis Blues head coach Craig Berube is one of the favorites, though other names like Todd McLellan seem to be in consideration. There's also the smoke around Mike Sullivan in Pittsburgh, but there are no actual ties there just yet.

For now, though, we know that the Devils' next head coach will not be Travis Green. Green will try to rebuild an Ottawa Senators team that, aside from the Devils, was one of the NHL's most disappointing in 2023-24. The Senators finished 37-41-4, for 78 points, and missed the postseason. That was bad enough to earn them the 7th best odds in the lottery on Tuesday night, with a 6.5% chance of landing the number one pick, while the Devils will have a 3.5% chance.