Scott Stevens served as a co-coach for the New Jersey Devils alongside Adam Oates last season and he was consequently in the running to become the team’s new head coach. That job went to John Hynes instead, but Stevens was still willing to stick around as an assistant.
As previously reported, the Devils hired Alain Nasreddine and Geoff Ward to work under Hynes. The addition of Nasreddine is particularly relevant because of his history of running the the AHL’s Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins’ defense and penalty kill when Hynes was serving as that squad’s bench boss. That was the role Stevens would have been in if he was hired.
“The decision with Alain (who will coach the defensemen) wasn’t about Scott. It was more about Alain,” Devils GM Ray Shero said.
From here Stevens is expected to pursue coaching opportunities elsewhere, but it sounds like Shero’s leaving the door open to Stevens staying with the Devils in some other role, including potentially as a coach with AHL Albany.
“That’s a conversation I haven’t had because it was more NHL assistant and there certainly are openings around the league still,” Shero said. “So, that’s a different conversation with Scott that I’ll have to have or he’ll have to have with me in terms where he wants to go with his career. Then, like with anybody, you have to make career choices and go from there.”
Fellow 2014-15 co-coach Adam Oates has already told the Devils he won’t be returning.
The Winnipeg Jets announced that Anthony Peluso has agreed to a two-year, $1.35 million contract extension.
The 26-year-old forward had two points and 86 penalty minutes in 49 games with Winnipeg in 2014-15. He was also credited with 100 hits.
He was originally taken by the St. Louis Blues in the sixth round of 2007 NHL Entry Draft, but he was placed on waivers in January 2013 before making his NHL debut. He was claimed by Winnipeg and has gone on to participate in 107 contests with the Jets.
Peluso was scheduled to become a restricted free agent this summer after completing his old two-year deal worth roughly $1.1 million.
Winnipeg still has a number of restricted free agents left, including defensemen Paul Postma, Keaton Ellerby, and Ben Chiarot.
The Washington Capitals announced that they have signed a two-year, $1,625,000 contract extension with defenseman Nate Schmidt.
Schmidt’s deal is one-way and will pay him $750,000 next season and $875,000 in 2016-17. That works out to be an annual cap hit of $812,500.
The 23-year-old defenseman was never drafted, but he excelled at the University of Minnesota. In 2012-13 he was part of the All-WCHA First Team after leading all defensemen with 41 points. He finished in a tie for third among NCAA blueliners in the scoring race in the subsequent campaign with 32 points in 40 contests.
He had a goal and four points in 39 contests in 2014-15 with Washington. He also recorded three goals and six assists in 19 AHL contests.
With Schmidt locked up, the Capitals now have six blueliners inked to one-way deals. Mike Green, John Erskine, and Tim Gleason are eligible to test the unrestricted free agent waters this summer.
It sounds like bench boss John Hynes will be retaining one of his assistant coaches from the AHL’s Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins as Alain Nasreddine is set to make the jump to the New Jersey Devils, according to Trib Total Media’s source.
Update: The Devils have officially announced the hiring of Nasreddine. Former Boston Bruins assistant coach Geoff Ward is also joining Hynes’ staff.
Like Hynes, the 39-year-old Nasreddine lacks NHL coaching experience, but he has spent the last five seasons with the AHL Penguins. Before that he was a journeyman defenseman that logged 74 games at the NHL level.
Nasreddine’s primary duties as part of Hynes’ old staff were to help with the defense and penalty kill, which raises further questions about Scott Stevens’ future with the organization. Stevens served as a co-coach along with Adam Oates last season and when he didn’t get the head coaching gig, he expressed an interest in joining Hynes’ staff as an assistant. With Hynes and the Devils now expected to hire Nasreddine, there might not be a role available for Stevens.
As previously noted, the Devils won’t have to give the Pittsburgh Penguins a draft pick to hire Nasreddine after already surrendering a 2016 third rounder for Hynes’ services.