Newly elected Hall of Famer Adam Oates was the first major domino to fall in the coaching exodus that has plagued New Jersey. The former assistant and power play coach signed a three-year contract to become the head coach of the Washington Capitals after his Devils made a tremendous Stanley Cup Finals run.
Now it seems, the Devils have lost an even bigger cornerstone of their coaching staff in Hall of Famer Larry Robinson. Reports state that Larry Robinson has decided to take the open gig in San Jose as an associate coach, where he will try to fix the Sharks' defensive and penalty killing woes.
Not only was Robinson one of the greatest NHL defensemen to ever live, but his tenure in New Jersey is one that is near and dear to the hearts of Devils' fans. He will be remembered mostly for his 2000 Stanley Cup Championship win where he served as one of three head coaches to ever win it all in New Jersey.
While Oates' power play performance was nothing to write home about, and most Devils fans won't shed a tear over his decision to leave for the head coaching opportunity with the Capitals, Robinson's decision to leave is a much bigger decision, with much larger and longer lasting consequences.
Responsible for coaching a regular season penalty kill that made history by breaking the record for best PK percentage ever for a NHL team, Robinson was also instrumental in coaching a bunch of self described "no-name" defensemen who gelled together and formed one of the best and toughest defenses to play against.
The move is also detrimental for young defensemen Mark Fayne and Adam Larsson, who Robinson turned into top notch blueliners. Fayne, a defensive defenseman by trade, was able to add a bit of offense to the Devils while staying solid in his own zone. Rookie Adam Larsson's development might take a tumble as well with the absence of Robinson's personal mentoring.
New Jersey's loss is San Jose's gain, and everyone from the Devils wishes Larry the best of luck. His contributions to New Jersey will never be forgotten.