Recchi Hired as Assistant Coach

Lindy Ruff’s Devils coaching staff is beginning to take shape as today the team announced that Mark Recchi will serve as an assistant coach on Ruff’s staff.

The announcement was made by Executive Vice President/General Manager Tom Fitzgerald via a press release on the Devils’ official app.

In the press release, Fitzgerald was quoted as saying: “We are extremely excited to add Mark to our coaching staff, where his experience as a player, coach, and in development will be invaluable. His work with the power play and managing personnel in Pittsburgh are skills that will benefit our group moving forward. Mark’s leadership, communication abilities, patience, and presence will be integral for the growth of our young core.”

Recchi served the last three seasons as an assistant coach with the Penguins. Pittsburgh let most of their coaching staff go following their 2020 Qualifying Round loss to the Montreal Canadiens.

In Pittsburgh, “he was responsible for the power play.” In his three seasons there, the Pens had a 131-78-24 record and made the playoffs all seasons (they made the Qualifying Round in this year’s amended playoff format, as previously mentioned). The press release mentions that the Pens were “top-five in the League on the power play in two of his three seasons, including leading the League in 2017-18 with a 26.2% success rate. Their three-year mark of 23.8% ranked third over that span.”

Recchi, 52-years-old, had a pedigree with the Penguins. He won a Stanley Cup there as a player in 1991 and won two more in 2016 and 2017 as a Development Coach with the club. He was a Development Coach from 2014-15 until being promoted to the bench in 2017-18. During his time as a Developmental Coach, he worked with Pittsburgh’s prospects in the professional minor leagues as well as juniors and college. He got his first post-playing career job in the NHL with the Dallas Stars as a Senior Advisor in 2013-14.

In addition to the Cup won in Pittsburgh as a player, Recchi also won Cups with the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006 and the Boston Bruins in 2011.

As a player, he played 22-years in the NHL, participating in 1,652 games which is sixth all-time on the games played list. He also ranks 21st in goals scored (577), fifth in assists with 956, and 12th in total points (1,533). He also made seven All-Star Game appearances, including being named the game’s MVP in 1997.

He played in 189 Stanley Cup Playoff games, scoring 61 goals and 86 assists for 147 points. He played for the Penguins, Flyers, Canadiens, Bruins, Lightning, Atlanta Thrashers and Hurricanes over his 22-year career and was ultimately elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2017.

Recchi also had quite an impressive international career, as the Kamloops, British Columbia native represented Canada in the 1988 World Junior Championship and the 1997 World Championship, both of which he won gold at. He also played for Canada at the 1998 Winter Olympics.

He will be responsible for the Devils’ power play next season, replacing Rick Kowalsky in that role.

Devils Gain Two Third-Round Picks Following First-Round Playoff Results

Very late to the party here, as this was posted to the “Inside the Devils Blog” by Marc Ciampa way back on August 19, following the completion of the first-round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

The Devils gained two third-round Draft picks following the end results of the first-round of the playoffs. When the Carolina Hurricanes were eliminated by the Boston Bruins (the Bruins were subsequently eliminated in the second round by the Tampa Bay Lightning), the Devils got Carolina’s third round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft.

The pick was originally a fourth rounder, but would become a third-round pick should Sami Vatanen, who was traded to the Canes in exchange for Janne Kuokkanen, Frederick Claesson and the pick, played in 70-percent of the Hurricanes’ playoff games. Ciampa noted that Vatanen played in four of the five games played by Carolina, an 80-percent clip, which means that New Jersey now gets upgraded to a third-round pick from them.

With Taylor Hall and the Arizona Coyotes also being eliminated back in August by the Colorado Avalanche, the Devils gained (at least) a 2021 third-round pick from the Yotes. Ciampa notes that, were Hall to re-sign with Arizona – a proposition that has since gotten smaller since Arizona got into some disciplinary trouble with the league following working prospects out too early – that pick would upgrade to become a second-round pick in 2021.

As for the first-round pick gained in the Hall trade, it “will be no worse than 18th overall” according to Ciampa. He also noted that, had the Calgary Flames or Montreal Canadiens advanced to the Conference Finals, that pick would have become a 17th overall pick (16th overall if both of them had gotten to the semifinals). Since both Calgary and Montreal were eliminated in the first-round, that point is moot.

So, a little bit late, but we now have some clarity on what, exactly, the Devils Draft this year will look like.

As for the playoffs itself, the Lightning have become the first team to advance to the Conference Final, moving on to the East Final by defeating the Bruins. Congratulations to former Devil Blake Coleman for moving on with his new team.

The Islanders and Flyers play game six tonight with the Isles leading the top seed in the East, three games to two. New York will be trying to make the Conference Final for the first time since 1993, a gap of 27 years, which is an NHL record for time between playing in a Conference Final. It would also mark the Islanders’ first Eastern Conference Final, as the last time they played in one, it was still the Wales Conference Final! Good luck to former Devils captain Andy Greene as he tries to help the Isles in their quest to return to glory.

In the West, the Vegas Golden Knights and Vancouver Canucks will play game six tonight as well, with Vancouver on the brink of elimination in that one, down three games to two to Vegas.

We get our first game seven of the 2020 playoffs on Friday when the Avalanche and Dallas Stars will hook up in a deciding game. The Avs fought back to tie the series after the Stars seemed in complete control there.

We should find out how the Conference Finals shake down by the end of this week. I hope everyone is enjoying the playoffs and the great hockey that it has brought so far.

Until then, we’ll see you later and I hope I can keep up-to-date on the news a little better in the future.