A press conference, possibly as early as Tuesday, is expected to announce that Brent Sutter is stepping down as head coach of the New Jersey Devils.
CTV in Calgary was the first to legitimately break the story, but it shouldn't come as a huge surprise to anyone that has followed the team or read recent quotes by Brent Sutter.
I think this decision was likely made weeks ago, which has led to some leaks in the media about Sutter leaving and Devils GM Lou Lamoriello conducting his search for a new coach during this time.
Lamoriello's choice as new head coach will be the first big chip to be played this offseason, and certainly will have a huge impact on the signing of free agents in the months ahead.
As I had speculated a few weeks ago in my last article, there are a host of candidates for whom Lamoriello has to choose from. I still label John MacLean as a long shot, since I can't see Lamoriello hiring a rookie head coach, especially one that does not have any head coaching experience.
Other long-shot candidates include Larry Robinson, Jacques Lemaire, Ted Nolan, and Scott Stevens.
The "on the radar" type potential hires include Craig MacTavish, Peter Laviolette, Marc Crawford, and Guy Carbonneau. My best guess is that Lamoriello will take someone "off the radar," as he did with his original hiring of Jacques Lemaire.
As for Sutter, it would be hard to label his two-year tenure as anything but a disappointment.
Sure, there were some highlights, but unfortunately, the team came up short in the postseason both years, losing in the first round to the New York Rangers in 2008, and this year to the Carolina Hurricanes in an extremely painful fashion, with a last minute collapse in Game Seven.
The ending surely left a bitter taste in his mouth, as well as everyone who is a fan of the Devils.
Sutter posted a record of 97-56-11 in the regular season, but was only 4-8 in the postseason.
Ultimately, Sutter will be remembered more for what he didn't do, then what he did.
There will be more to follow in the coming months about how this will impact the Devils.
Be sure to look for our next submission!