Lou Lamoriello and the New Jersey Devils were a busy organization this week. A day after unloading Brian Rolston’s contract to the New York Islanders and on the same day as they signed restricted free agent Zach Parise to a one-year, $6 million contract, the Devils added yet another assistant coach to Peter DeBoer’s staff. The organization announced that former Devils player Dave Barr was hired as an assistant coach—a move that completes New Jersey’s coaching staff for the 2011-12 season. Barr spent the last two seasons as an assistant coach in Minnesota with the Wild and was an assistant for the Colorado Avalanche during the 2008-09 season.
GM Lamoriello explained the final hiring to Tom Gulitti of NorthJersey.com’s Fire and Ice blog:
“Dave was in the organization as a player and he has experience as an assistant coach in the league with Minnesota and Colorado. And with Pete coming in, he gives us another perspective from the outside, another set of eyes. I felt that was important.”
“Pete sat down with all the assistants from last year and everything was 100 percent positive. If he wasn’t 100 percent comfortable with any of them, they would not have been brought back.”
For those keeping track at home, the Devils bench is going to be as crowded as a New York taxi cab on New Year’s Eve. Barr joins assistant coaches Larry Robinson and Adam Oates behind the bench, in addition to goaltending coach and former Devil Chris Terreri. Mix in newly-minted head coach Peter DeBoer and there will be no shortage of opinions or perspectives on this year’s coaching staff. Judging by Lamoriello’s comments, that’s exactly what he’s looking for.
The 50-year-old Barr brings a wealth of management experience to the table in his new role. Since retiring as a player in 1997, Barr has served as a general manager for Guelph in the OHL and Houston of the AHL. He’s also had experience as a head coach while leading Guelph and Houston in the IHL. He’ll bring all of that experience with him as the Devils look to put together all of the pieces on their coaching staff to lead next year’s squad.
Does it really take this many people to replace Jacques Lemaire?
Next year the Devils will look to build upon their strong second-half from last season. After Lemaire took over, New Jersey was a very respectable 28-17-3—a record that included a 20-2-2 stretch that started in January. Unfortunately, with the Devils horrendous record to start the season (9-22-2 under MacLean), they dug too deep of a hole to recover and make the playoffs. If they can put together 82 games like they did under Lemaire, the Devils will be a playoff team that could resemble the 103-point team from 2009-10. If they Devils perform like they did for MacLean, well, the playoffs won’t be a concern.
Hey, if things go sideways in New Jersey, there won’t be any shortage of scapegoats, right?