The New Jersey Devils fired General Manager Ray Shero on Sunday evening prior to their game against the Tampa Bay Lightning. He spent the past five and a half seasons with the Devils after eight seasons with the Pittsburgh Penguins in the same position. Assistant GM Tom Fitzgerald will take over on an interim basis and Martin Brodeur will help as an advisor in hockey operations, according to the team.
The New Jersey Devils and General Manager Ray Shero have agreed to part ways, effective immediately.
Tom Fitzgerald will serve as interim General Manager and he will receive support from Martin Brodeur.https://t.co/rXCTy2rvHd
— New Jersey Devils (@NJDevils) January 12, 2020
“Ray is a talented hockey executive and I am confident he will have great success in the future. However, Ray and I are in agreement that the Devils need to move in a new direction and that this change is in the best interest of the team,” team chairman Josh Harris said in a statement.
The Devils currently rank last in the Metropolitan Division with 39 points after Shero acquired defenseman P.K. Subban in a trade with the Nashville Predators on June 22, drafted center Jack Hughes with the first overall pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, signed forward Wayne Simmonds to a one-year contract on July 1, and acquired forward Nikita Gusev in a trade with the Vegas Golden Knights on July 29.
The Devils had the first overall pick in the NHL Draft twice in the last three summers and missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs in all but one season Shero was with the team. They fell to the Lightning in five games in the first round of the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
What makes the firing surprising is that it came a day after the Devils arguably had their best performance of the season when they defeated the league-leading Washington Capitals by a score of 5-1 on the road.
Due to the Devils slow start, Shero was forced to deal star forward Taylor Hall and center Blake Speers to the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for a first-round pick in 2020 and a conditional third-round pick in 2021 in addition to prospects Kevin Bahl, Nick Merkley, and Nate Schnarr on December 16. Hall can become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, so Shero could not just let him walk for nothing. Less than two weeks earlier, he fired head coach John Hynes and named assistant coach Alain Nasreddine interim head coach.
Shero won the Stanley Cup with the Penguins in 2009.
From The Devils
“The New Jersey Devils and General Manager Ray Shero have agreed to part ways, effective immediately.
“Ray is a talented hockey executive and I am confident he will have great success in the future. However, Ray and I are in agreement that the Devils need to move in a new direction and that this change is in the best interest of the team.
“In the coming weeks and months, we will be launching a formal search for a new General Manager.
“We are very optimistic about our future and have a lot of talent, both on and off the ice.
“Tom Fitzgerald will serve as interim General Manager and he will receive support from Martin Brodeur, who will serve as an advisor to and on hockey operations.
“Our organization remains deeply committed to creating a sustainably winning franchise. Our fans deserve nothing but the best hockey. We thank them for their continued support as we work toward our goals.”
By Harrison Brown