Photo: Yahoo! Sports
After falling to the Buffalo Sabres by a score of 7-1 on Monday night for their second straight loss, the New Jersey Devils announced on Tuesday that they have fired head coach John Hynes. Assistant coach Alain Nasreddine was named interim head coach.
The Devils were expected to have a big season by many heading into October after acquiring defenseman P.K. Subban in a trade with the Nashville Predators, center Jack Hughes with the first overall pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, forward Wayne Simmonds in free agency, and forward Nikita Gusev in a trade with the Vegas Golden Knights. In addition, they got a healthy forward Taylor Hall, who missed all but 33 games a season ago and won the Hart Trophy as league MVP in 2018. But all of that talent has failed to translate on paper yet.
The Devils have squandered a lot of leads this season as they led 4-0 against the Winnipeg Jets on October 4 and 4-1 against the Florida Panthers on October 14 but lost both. They got off to an 0-4-2 start to the season and currently sit second-to-last in the Eastern Conference with 22 points.
The Devils, who have picked first overall in two of the past three NHL Drafts and missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs in three of four seasons with Hynes behind the bench, host the Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday night.
The Devils’ average of 2.50 goals-per-game is the third-worst in the NHL this season while their average of 3.62 goals-against per game is the second-most. The Devils’ 13.4% power-play efficiency is tied for the fourth-worst in the league while their 76.5% penalty-killing rate is the eighth-worst.
Over the past week, the Devils have been listening to trade offers for Hall, who can become an unrestricted free agent in 2018. The NHL Trade Deadline is Monday, February 24.
From The Devils
The New Jersey Devils today announced that they have relieved John Hynes of his head coaching duties. Alain Nasreddine will become Interim Head Coach and Peter Horachek, currently a pro scout for the team, will join the coaching staff as an assistant under Nasreddine. The announcements were made by Devils’ Executive Vice President/General Manager Ray Shero.
Alain Nasreddine will start in his role for tonight’s game versus Vegas. He heads up the staff of Horachek and existing assistants Rick Kowalsky, Mike Grier and goaltending coach, Roland Melanson.
“John played an integral role in the development of this team in establishing a foundation for our future and we are grateful for his commitment, passion and unmatched work ethic,” said Shero. “John is a respected leader, developer of talent and friend which makes this decision difficult. We are a team that values and takes pride in accountability to the results we produce. We are collectively disappointed in our performance on the ice and believe changes were needed, starting with our head coach. I have been consistent in my desire to build something here in New Jersey that earns the respect of teams throughout the league and pride in our fans. That is not where we were heading and for me to tolerate anything less was not acceptable.”
Alain Nasreddine played for six different NHL organizations during his 15-year professional career: Chicago Blackhawks, Edmonton Oilers, Florida Panthers, Montreal Canadiens, New York Islanders and the Pittsburgh Penguins. On August 20, 2010, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins of the American Hockey League (AHL) named Nasreddine their new assistant coach, where he had previously served as captain. On June 17, 2015, Nasreddine was named an assistant coach for the New Jersey Devils.
“Nas has a long history as a respected leader both as a player and a coach in the respective roles he has served for his teams,” Shero continued. “His experience as a captain and alternate captain on the ice, in addition to his responsibilities behind the bench, will serve him well as he leads this team through necessary changes to alter our current trajectory.”
Peter Horachek was a long-time assistant coach for the Nashville Predators, as well as interim head coach of the Florida Panthers and the Toronto Maple Leafs. He has been a pro scout with the club since 2015.
Hynes departs the Devils after coaching the team to a 150-159-45 (.487) record in 354 career regular-season games over four-plus seasons and led the team to the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in six years. He ranks second in team history in games coached, wins and points (345).
By Harrison Brown