According to a report on NJ.com by Steve Politi and Chris Ryan, head coach John Hynes has been given “a multi-year extension” to his contract, which was set to expire at the end of this season. The term was not disclosed by the team.
Politi and Ryan quoted general manager Ray Shero as saying: “John’s leadership has been instrumental in building both culture and systems that are focused on the development of our players. He has cultivated a group of veteran leaders, while helping our young players develop and gain experience. John is to be commended for the progress the team has made under his direction and this commitment shows that we are confident in the role he will play in our future success.”
Hynes is currently the longest-serving head coach/manager of all the teams in the New York City area. He was hired in June 2015 by Shero right after Shero became GM replacing Lou Lamoriello. Shero hired him from the Pittsburgh Penguins organization, where he was coaching the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins of the AHL.
Politi and Ryan mention that Hynes has a 125-122 NHL record as Devils head coach.
Hynes, for his part, was quoted by Politi and Ryan as saying: “Pro sports is an emotional business, but you need a clear plan,” (in regards to owners Josh Harris and David Blitzer’s dedication to building the Devils back into a winner). “Everything doesn’t go on a straight line to the top. There are dips, troubling times, good times, but it’s about the foundation we’re building here.”
Now my take is that there are bound to be plenty of fans who will not agree with this move. But it is important to remember that last season was a bit of fool’s gold. The Devils made the playoffs but they are still in a rebuild. That rebuild needs stability and Hynes gives them that.
Regardless of how you feel about Hynes as a coach, you cannot be firing coaches in the middle of a rebuild because it stunts the development of the younger players. If someone like Nico Hischier, for instance, has two coaches in a year and a half in his ear, that would not help him as a hockey player. Hynes has proven that he works very well with the younger guys and is a good communicator. Young players need that.
Plus, there is the Taylor Hall factor. The reigning MVP has said that he enjoys playing under Hynes and that Hynes has challenged him like no other coach. Those are big words from one of the best players in the NHL. If you fire Hynes, there is almost zero chance that Hall comes back when it is time to re-sign.
You can argue with his strategy, you can argue with his usage of certain players such as Mirco Mueller and you can argue that this is a results-based league where he needs to win. But if you fire him now (which obviously the Devils are not doing), then you have something worse. You have a situation like the Flyers have where team profits and a win-now mentality override good, sound decision making.
Just relax and give this thing time, hopefully it will work out.