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The New Jersey Devils may not have hired the coach they wanted

July 14, 2020, 12:05 PM ET [73 Comments]
Todd Cordell
New Jersey Devils Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
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After months and months of searching, the New Jersey Devils have finally found a head coach. It may not be the one they wanted, though.

Peter Laviolette’s name was constantly brought up throughout the hiring process. For a while he was rumored to be the favorite for the job. Apparently, for good reason.

The Devils did have real interest but couldn’t come to terms on a deal, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.

I do think Laviolette is overrated as a coach. The impact he makes on a team’s offense is generally not very good and we’ve suffered through watching an offensively inept team for far too long. From that respect, I honestly think the Devils dodged a bullet paying a premium for Laviolette.

At the same time, if he was the Devils’ top choice – rightly or wrongly – and they passed due to financials...well, that’s a really bad look.

I know businesses may be hurting a little because of COVID-19. I understand that. But ownership isn't exactly short on money – David Blitzer and Josh Harris have combined net worths of more than $5 billion – and the team has more cap space than anybody. Relatively speaking, ownership isn't spending much on the team right now. That means passing on Laviolette due to money, if that’s what happened, is rather indefensible.

It may very well work out – I think Jack Hughes, Jesper Bratt, and co. have a better chance of reaching their ceilings under a more offensively inclined coach like Ruff – but seemingly for the wrong reasons.

One can only hope ownership is more willing to spend if and when a big opportunity to improve the roster presents itself.

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