In the days prior to Saturday and Monday’s contest, perhaps the worst showings by the Devils this season, much of the talk regarding John Hynes’ future was muted with many citing the internal confidence in their head coach.
But following a 4-0 loss at home to the Rangers and a disastrous 7-1 outing in Buffalo, the decision was made to fire John Hynes. The announcement coming just hours prior to the team’s puck drop on Tuesday at home, facing the Golden Knights.
Hynes was named head coach in 2015 after Ray Shero came on board to replace long-time General Manager, Lou Lamoriello. In four full seasons as head coach, the Devils qualified for the postseason once but overachieved in his first season with a 38-36-8 record.
Under his leadership, the 2017-18 season saw New Jersey qualify for the postseason for the first time since 2012, when the club was in the Stanley Cup Final, eventually falling to the Kings in six games.
Hynes tenure also saw the club boast several firsts including two first overall picks, Nico Hischier (2017) and Jack Hughes (2019) as well as the franchise’s first-ever Hart Trophy winner (Taylor Hall, 2018). The Warwick, RI native also played a vital role in recruiting highly sought-after NCAA free agent, Will Butcher.
This season has not gone according to plan for New Jersey. After making a splash in the offseason acquiring several big names including P.K. Subban, the Devils are 30th in the league with a 9-13-4 record. Hall, the club’s star player is not likely to re-sign and reportedly being shopped by the Devils. The team has struggled mightily on defense and in goal, where Cory Schneider’s play resulted in an AHL demotion last month. He exits New Jersey with a 150-159-45 record in his first NHL head coaching gig.
Alain Nasreddine, an assistant on Hynes’ staff since his arrival in New Jersey, will assume duties as the interim head coach. This marks Nasreddine’s first head coaching job after serving as an assistant coach in the American Hockey League and with the Devils. The team also confirmed Peter Horachek, a pro scout and former assistant coach with the Predators and Maple Leafs including a stint as head coach, will serve as an assistant coach effective immediately.
The coaching change marks the first by Shero in his tenure as Devils GM. Shero, who has overseen the construction of the roster, will certainly wear some of the blame on what has transpired this season, but was signed to a multi-year extension last April.
Nasreddine will start his tenure off with three games in five days, the Devils hosting Vegas on Tuesday and Chicago on Friday before heading to Nashville on Saturday.