Report: Devils to Hire Lindy Ruff as HC, Remove Interim Tag for GM Fitzgerald

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistJuly 8, 2020

FILE - In this Jan. 14, 2017, file photo, Dallas Stars head coach Lindy Ruff watches play against the Minnesota Wild in the first period of an NHL hockey game in Dallas. The Rangers have hired longtime NHL head coach Lindy Ruff as an assistant to Alain Vigneault. The 57-year-old Ruff has been an NHL head coach for the past 19 seasons with a record of 736-554-78-125. (AP Photo/LM Otero, File)
LM Otero/Associated Press

The New Jersey Devils have reportedly found their new head coach.

According to Kevin Weekes of NHL.com, the Devils will name Lindy Ruff as their head coach and remove the interim tag from general manager Tom Fitzgerald's title.

New Jersey fired John Hynes and named Alain Nasreddine as the interim head coach in December. Hynes was the head coach of the Devils from the 2015-16 campaign and finished with a 150-159-45 overall record. They made the playoffs once during his tenure, losing in the first round in the 2017-18 season, and were just 9-13-4 in 2019-20 when he was fired.

New Jersey finished this campaign with a 28-41-12 record, which was the worst mark in the Metropolitan Division and not good enough to earn an invitation to the league's restart plan.

The Devils, who haven't won a playoff series since they reached the Stanley Cup Final in 2012, will have a veteran in Ruff leading the way as they look to turn things around. Ruff played from 1979-80 through 1990-91 for the Buffalo Sabres and New York Rangers and has even more experience as a head coach.

In 15 seasons as the head coach of the Sabres, Ruff finished with a 571-432-78-84 record and eight playoff appearances. He helped lead them to the Stanley Cup Final in 1999, when they lost to the Dallas Stars.

Ruff also has experience with the Stars, serving as their head coach for four seasons before they fired him in 2017. He was 165-122-41 in Dallas and was most recently an assistant coach with the New York Rangers. 

As for Fitzgerald, he has been the interim general manager since the Devils and Ray Shero agreed to part ways in January.


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