Catherine Bogart reported yesterday on the “Inside the Devils Blog” that Devils General Manager Tom Fitzgerald “spoke to the media ahead of the NHL Draft” and addressed the future of Lindy Ruff’s staff.
To begin, former Devils Interim Head Coach, Alain Nasreddine will be returning as an assistant coach next season.
Fitzgerald told Bogart: “He’s very excited about [returning] as are we. When you can keep a young talent like Alain, who did a good job with our group, tough situation, but he handled it well, learned a lot. [He] grew as a coach, young head coach. I think he’s very excited about the opportunity to work with Lindy Ruff. We’re excited about Alain coming back. He takes a lot of pride in growing our young [defense], he takes a lot of pride in working with the penalty kill, and we’re excited to have him.”
The coaching staff, according to Bogart, currently stands at Ruff, Nasreddine and Mark Recchi. She mentioned that the team is looking for a goaltending coach, leading us to believe that Rollie Melanson will not be returning. Likewise, they are looking for a third “eye in the sky” coach. This, added to Recchi’s hiring, would seem to indicate that the Devils have cut ties with Rick Kowalsky as well.
Bogart quoted Fitzgerald as saying: “We’re going through a goaltending coach search. We have to add a third coach, a ‘eye in the sky’ kind of guy. I think Lindy’s narrowed it down. I think he’s going to be comfortable with a person, I just like to sit down and talk with him and then go from there. There’s no rush especially with the draft and free agency coming up. But I don’t think the decision will take much longer.”
The “eye in the sky” coach would be replacing former assistant coach Mike Grier. Fitzgerald confirmed that Grier is not returning for next season.
Fitzgerald said to Bogart: “He was offered to come back, we would have loved to have him come back. He plans on staying home…he’s got young kids, he wants to be around and be a dad. If something comes up that gives him the opportunity to grow more with more responsibilities than we could have offered him then he’ll consider that. But he was offered a spot to come back.”
So, as it stands, the Devils’ coaching staff will consist of a familiar face along with a lot of overhaul. Once the team hires its goaltending coach and third assistant, we will have word for you here.