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.
The Nashville Predators announced that they have signed goaltender Juuse Saros to a three-year, entry-level contract.
Saros, 20, was taken with the 99th overall pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. He’s coming off of a strong season in the Finnish league where he posted a 2.14 GAA and .929 save percentage in 47 games with HPK Hameenlinna. That’s after he was 2013-14 Finnish Elite League Rookie of the Year with a 1.76 GAA and .928 save percentage in 44 games.
On the international stage, Saros led Finland to a gold medal in the 2014 World Juniors. He also was Pekka Rinne’s understudy in the 2015 World Championship. That role didn’t lend itself to much playing time, but when he was called into service against Slovakia, he earned a shutout by turning aside 22 shots.
Rather than once again become Rinne’s backup, Saros is more likely to be given a chance to adjust to North American hockey while honing his skills in the minors during the 2015-16 campaign. Nashville already has Carter Hutton inked to a one-way contract, although the 29-year-old goaltender’s deal will expire after the 2015-16 campaign, so if Saros has a strong season then perhaps he’ll be viewed as a serious candidate for the backup job at that time.