Good morning Devils fans! Last night, it was reported by NHL Network’s Kevin Weekes & confirmed that the New Jersey Devils have removed the interim General Manager tag and have given Tom Fitzgerald the job full time. Fitzgerald took over as the Devils GM when Ray Shero was fired back on January 13th, 2020. Also, for his first “official” act as General Manager, Tom Fitzgerald has hired former Buffalo Sabres and Dallas Stars head coach Lindy Ruff for the Devils open head coaching job. Ruff is currently a New York Rangers assistant coach and has been there for the past three seasons. Ruff beat out other coaching candidates such as Girard Gallant, Peter Laviolette, and John Stevens. There is definitely a connection here between Fitzgerald and Ruff. Lindy Ruff was Tom Fitzgerald’s assistant coach during their time together for the Florida Panthers. They even made a Stanley Cup finals appearance together during the 1995-96 season. It definitely makes sense now why he become a top candidate and got the Devils head coaching job. Let’s take a look at the Devils moves.
Tom Fitzgerald Reaction
Since the NHL trade deadline at the end of February, I have been campaigning for the Devils to give Tom Fitzgerald the GM job full time. Well, obviously I’m very thrilled he will be staying on as the General Manager. His trades in particular at the trade deadline were absolutely spectacular and should help with the Devil‘s youth movement towards building a future Stanley Cup contender. His leadership style, how he dealt with the media, and his hockey IQ is what sold me on him. The simple fact Fitzgerald was able to trade an aging and declining 37 year old defenseman like Andy Greene and got a top prospect plus a second round draft pick is a miracle in itself. Talk about turning you know what into gold! The Blake Coleman trade was also fantastic as he didn’t even have to trade him. Considering he didn’t have to trade Coleman, Fitzgerald made sure he got exactly what he wanted for him. Not only did he get a first round pick for Coleman (who still has term on his contract) but, he also got a legitimate stud prospect who is considered to be one of the best up-and-coming pure goal scorers and former first round pick in Nolan Foote. He should look really good on a line with either Nico Hischier or Jack Hughes for years to come! Overall, I’m very pleased with this move and can’t wait to see what else Tom Fitzgerald has in store for the future of the New Jersey Devils.
Lindy Ruff Reaction
Now this is where I am very unsure here. If you were to have asked over 10 years ago, would I want Lindy Ruff as the Devils head coach? I probably wouldn’t have given it much of a second thought. However, I’m not so sure how he will handle a very young New Jersey Devils team. I will say, Ruff in his last stint in Dallas had his team playing very fast and aggressive while being towards the top of the league in several offensive categories. That will be good for the Devils as they struggled offensively and have a lot of young skilled players to work with. Unfortunately there is a but here. The downside of Lindy Ruff was his team defense. Going forward, can Lindy Ruff get this young team to play a full and committed 200 foot game? Time will only tell. As long as the Devils hire someone who knows their stuff defensively to help out Lindy Ruff, then this hire could potentially work out.