In the wake of the news of the Devils hiring a new head of amateur scouting in Paul Castron, the team has hired Andre Savard and Claude Noel as pro scouts to help fill out their scouting ranks. The two new hires will join Bob Hoffmeyer as pro scouts for the franchise.
Savard comes to the Devils after playing 12-years for the Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres and Quebec Nordiques from 1973 to 1985 and then transitioning into a front office role for the Nords. In 10 years in Quebec City, he was an assistant coach, a head coach both at the NHL and AHL level and a scout and director of player development.
In 1995, he joined the Ottawa Senators, where he served for four years as head scout and one year as an assistant coach. He then moved on to the Montreal Canadiens, where from November 20, 2000 to the end of 2002-03, he was the team’s General Manager. He then moved to become assistant GM for the Habs under Bob Gainey from 2003 to 2006.
Next stop for him was Pittsburgh, where he was an assistant coach under Michel Therrien starting with the 2006-07 season (the Pens made the playoffs for the first time in six years that season) until 2009. The Penguins made the Stanley Cup Final in his final season as an assistant, losing to Detroit. From 2008 to 2014, he was a pro scout with the organization. During this run, they won the Stanley Cup in 2009.
Savard is 61 and is a native of Temiscarmingue, Quebec.
Noel arrives in Newark after a stint as the head coach of the Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League. Prior he served as bench boss for the Winnipeg Jets from 2011-12 to 2013-14 (the team’s first three years after the move from Atlanta). Before that, he was head coach of the Manitoba Moose of the AHL (affiliate of the Vancouver Canucks). For the three years leading up to his stint in Manitoba, he was an assistant coach with the Columbus Blue Jackets from 2007-08 to 2009-10. He also spent time as their interim head coach in 2009-10, serving for 24 games behind the bench.
From 2003-04 to 2006-07, he was with the Nashville Predators organization, as head coach of their AHL club, the Milwaukee Admirals, finishing his stint there with a .639 winning percentage, including three 100-point seasons and winning the West Division twice. They won a Calder Cup in 2003-04 and he won the Louis A. R. Pieri Memorial Award as AHL Coach of the Year that same season.
He also has pro coaching experience with Roanoke Valley (1990-91), Dayton (1991-92 to 1992-93 – where he also served as director of hockey operations) and Toledo (2002-03) of the ECHL. He was ECHL Coach of the Year with Toledo. He also was an assistant coach with Kalamazoo/Michigan of the old IHL from 1993-94 to 1994-95 and in Milwaukee of the AHL from 1998 to 2002.
Noel, 59 years-old, played 12 pro seasons as a forward in the NAHL, AHL, IHL and internationally. He also had seven games played for the Washington Capitals in 1979-80. He is a native of Kirkland Lake, Ontario.
As this shows, these two men are both very accomplished hockey lifers who bring a lot to the table for the Devils. They are great to have on the staff and can only make things better for the team in the long run. Pro scouts are an underrated and often overlooked part of any organization and Savard and Noel bring a wealth of knowledge to the franchise. There is no doubt that GM Ray Shero is happy with these hirings.