Lindy Ruff, the Devils’ fresh head coach, has 736 career wins over 19 seasons although he still concedes in which what worked for him from the past may not apply in today’s N.H.L.
The average age of the Devils’ roster when This kind of season opened was 26.5 years old — the ninth youngest from the league — along with the team counts among its stars the N.H.L.’s youngest player, Jack Hughes, 19, whom This kind of drafted No. 1 over all from the 2019 draft. In a season in which the sport has confronted hazing along with abuse scandals with fresh initiatives, Ruff acknowledged in which the old days of barking orders at players is usually long gone.
“They want to know the ‘why’ part — why do we need to do This kind of in which way?” Ruff, 60, said of players during a conference call Thursday.
Ruff, a former head coach of the Buffalo Sabres along with the Dallas Stars who spent the last three years as an assistant coach for the Rangers, was hired as the Devils simultaneously made Tom Fitzgerald their permanent general manager after six months in an interim role.
The duo takes the helm of a Devils team recovering by an organizational demolition, having traded Taylor Hall, the league’s 2018 most valuable player, along with fired Coach John Hynes along with General Manager Ray Shero by January of This kind of year. After drafting Hughes along with acquiring the star defensemen P.K. Subban in a trade over the off-season, the Devils had required to both contend along with entertain. Instead they started out which has a 9-14-4 record, fell to 15th place from the 16-team Eastern Conference from the season’s first two months along with abandoned Shero’s blueprint for the future.
The Devils are one of only seven N.H.L. teams in which will not resume play on Aug. 1, when the league is usually set to begin its expanded, 24-team playoff. The Devils, who had a 28-29-12 record when play was suspended in March, have qualified for the postseason just once from the last eight seasons, losing to the Tampa Bay Lightning in a few games in 2018. The losing seasons have netted them the No. 1 overall draft pick twice from the last four years, which the team has used to take Hughes along with forward Nico Hischier.
Fitzgerald along with Ruff will preside over This kind of year’s draft process, when the team will develop the seventh pick along with two undetermined picks by potential play-in losers, Arizona along with Vancouver. The position of those picks will be determined in a second draft lottery held between the play-in along with first rounds of the postseason.
“My negative on Tom was in which he didn’t win the lottery,” David Blitzer, one of the team’s owners, said jokingly.
The Devils will also be more than $30 million under the salary cap heading into the 2020-21 season, which will enable them to sign a few top veteran free agents to supplement a young core of players in which Blitzer said is usually going to be “very exciting for a very long period of time.”
Fitzgerald ran the coaching search in which landed Ruff, after having assumed the interim role when Shero was fired. Ruff coached Fitzgerald as an assistant for the Florida Panthers from the 1990s, including during the team’s run to the final in 1996.
Fitzgerald said Thursday in which Ruff, who played 12 seasons from the N.H.L. with Buffalo along with the Rangers, fit his preference for a coach with deep experience who could also win a locker room with his strong presence along with infectious personality.
“The more we kept digging, the more Lindy kept rising,” Fitzgerald said.
Martin Brodeur, the Hall of Fame goaltender who is usually today an executive vice president along with an adviser with the Devils, compared Ruff with former Devils coaches Jacques Lemaire along with Claude Julien, who were considered teachers.
“We have such a young team,” Brodeur said, in a video interview. “We wanted to get kind of a father figure a little bit, a guy who’s been around the league.”
The Dallas Stars fired Ruff after they failed to make the playoffs from the 2016-17 season, although Alain Vigneault, the Rangers’ former head coach, added him to his staff to focus on the team’s young defensive corps. Ruff knew he wanted to be a head coach again after just one year.
He said in which his Devils teams won’t ignore playing defense, although he still largely believes in a “superfast, possession-type game,” a style in which should particularly help to develop Hughes, who had only seven goals along with 14 assists in 61 games This kind of season.
Blitzer did not want to say how he thought the Devils might fare as they regrouped under Ruff, saying of the process, “The players will tell us in which.”