There is not much of a doubt with this selection, as Jacques Lemaire has easily been the best coach in the team's history by a wide margin. After joining the franchise before the 1993-94 season, Lemaire helped to transform the franchise from a middle of the road franchise to one with the championship pedigree it has today. His background in the Montreal Canadiens organization gave him the foundation of knowledge Lemaire would call upon over his three stints with the Devils.
From the start of Lemaire's tenure, the team learned valuable lessons on both how to play and more importantly, how to win. No lesson was more painful than the Game 7 double overtime loss to the hated New York Rangers in the 1994 Eastern Conference Finals, but it showed the team what it would need to be prepared for. The following season the Devils used that valuable information to help them sweep the Detroit Red Wings in the Stanley Cup Finals, and brought the state of New Jersey its first major pro sports championship.
Not only does Jacques Lemaire's record speak for itself, it doesn't even come that close to showing the kind of impact he had on individual players. Players like Scott Niedermayer, Scott Stevens, Martin Brodeur and Brian Rafalski all took their games to the next level under Lemaire's watch and his tutelage.
Its no accident that Lemaire came in last season for his third term as head coach with the Devils and literally resuscitated the franchise after it hit rock bottom. After the disastrous first half of the season, Lemaire was asked by GM Lou Lamoriello to initiate a full turn around. Lemaire came in and basically started the team over with Hockey 101. When the players worked there way through their doldrums, things started turning around quickly.
Amazingly, the team made a somewhat serious threat to enter the playoff race. Guys like Nick Palmieri, Jacob Josefson and Mark Fayne learned under Lemaire in their rookie year and the dividends should pay off in the future assuming they can stay the course. Lemaire showed one final time what made him the amazing coach he was.
Coaching stats as a Devil: 509 GP, 276-166-57-10, Playoffs: 61 GP, 35-26, Jack Adams Award (1993-94), Stanley Cup Champion (1994-95)