Defenseman Bryce Salvador hasn’t played since Nov. 10 due to a back injury and at the age of 39, there’s a real possibility that his playing career is over. He’ll become an unrestricted free agent on July 1 and rather than immediately seek another contract, he plans to keep his options open over the summer.
“I won’t make a decision like that until training camp or after training camp,” Salvador told The Record. “It’s too tough to make a decision like that right now.”
He’s okay with the idea of entering training camp on a tryout basis and he even joked that he could follow Scott Gomez’s path as the veteran forward didn’t sign with New Jersey until Nov. 30.
In the meantime he’s resumed skating, but his health won’t be the only factor as he has family matters that need to be taken into consideration.
It also remains to be seen how much interest the Devils have in Salvador at a time when several members of their young defensive core are primed to play a bigger role. Salvador’s first choice would be to stay with New Jersey, but he is open to finishing his career elsewhere.
On Tuesday the New Jersey Devils officially announced former AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins coach John Hynes as the club’s new bench boss.
Now they’re reportedly looking back into the Penguins system for assistant coaches to fill out Hynes’ staff.
According to Tom Gulitti of The Record, the Devils have asked permission to speak with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton assistant coach Alain Nasreddine.
The Devils gave Pittsburgh a 2016 third-round pick as compensation for Hynes, but would not be forced to send another pick to the Penguins if they hire Nasreddine.
Nasreddine, who appeared in 74 career NHL games with Chicago, Montreal, the New York Islanders and Pittsburgh during his playing days, has worked with Hynes for the past five seasons in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
After spending the 2009-10 season playing professionally overseas, the 39-year-old was hired by current Devils GM Ray Shero to join Hynes’ staff in the AHL.
Gulitti reports that Shero will also interview former Devils’ captain Scott Stevens about a possible assistant coaching job.
Scott Stevens wasn’t able to earn the head coaching spot after spending about half of the 2014-15 campaign as the New Jersey Devils’ co-coach along with Adam Oates. That job instead went to former AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins bench boss John Hynes.
Stevens wants to stay in the game though and he’d like to be part of Hynes’ staff if there’s an opening for him.
“I haven’t looked elsewhere,” Stevens told The Record. “The Devils are my first choice, no question about that.”
He’s not sure what Hynes’ plans are as far as his staff goes, but Hynes has stated that “there’s no closed doors.”
Stevens is a Hall of Fame defenseman who won the Stanley Cup three times with New Jersey. He rejoined the Devils in 2012 as an assistant coach, but resigned in September 2014 before returning as a co-coach in December. His tenure as co-coach was perhaps most notable for the progress made by 22-year-old blueliner Adam Larsson. Back in January, Larsson suggested that having the trust of the new coaching staff was a big factor in his breakout.
The New Jersey Devils have officially announced John Hynes as their new bench boss after the team finished the 2014-15 campaign with Lou Lamoriello, Adam Oates and Scott Stevens all handling the coaching duties.
At the age of 40, Hynes is now the youngest head coach in the NHL.
In the introductory press conference, GM Ray Shero also outlined the three principles that will guide the Devils moving forward: Fast, attacking, and supportive.
“The things that we talked about and the identity we want to try to establish, the decision to hire John Haynes for the new head coach, he’s going to encompass these things moving forward,” Shero said.
Hynes spent the previous five seasons leading the AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins to a 231-126-27 record. The AHL Penguins, which are affiliated with Pittsburgh, made it to at least the second round in each of his campaigns.
Before that Hynes was the head coach of the USA Hockey’s National Development Program for six seasons. He won three medals over that span with the United States’ Under-18 team in the Worlds (Silver in 2004, Gold in 2006, Bronze in 2008). Among the players he coached during that era was current Devils goaltender Cory Schneider.
“Obviously it’s been a little while since then, but I do remember him being extremely detailed and prepared and a great motivator,” Schneider told the Star-Ledger. “He’s definitely a younger guy and I know we’re trying to transition that way. I had a great experience with him and hopefully he’s the right fit for us.”
It remains to be seen who Hynes assistants will be as Shero said that no other decisions have been made regarding the coaching staff.
Sergei Gonchar and Marek Zidlicky intend to play at least one more season in the NHL.
Both veteran defensemen are set to become unrestricted free agents next month.
Zidlicky split the 2014-15 season between the New Jersey Devils and Detroit Red Wings. In 84 games the 38-year-old had seven goals and 34 points to go along with a minus-9 rating while averaging over 20 minutes a night in ice time.
“He is 100 percent committed to playing in the NHL next season,” Zidlicky’s agent Allan Walsh tweeted on Monday afternoon.
Gonchar split the 2014-15 season between the Dallas Stars and Montreal Canadiens. The Habs announced last month that they would not be bringing the 41-year-old back for next season.
Montreal acquired Gonchar from Dallas in exchange for Travis Moen in November.
In 48 games this season Gonchar had one goal and 13 assists to go along with a plus-6 rating while averaging nearly 18 minutes a night in ice time.
Gonchar told TVA’s Renaud Lavoie that he wants to play one more season.