The New Jersey Devils have announced they will not renew the contract of David Conte – the club’s director of scouting.
Conte had been with the Devils organization for 31 seasons.
“David and I have had numerous discussions regarding his future. Based on our conversations, I believe it is in the best interests of our organization for David to pursue other opportunities and to not renew his contract,” said Devils’ GM Ray Shero in a statement. “I would personally like to thank David Conte for his 31 years of service to the New Jersey Devils organization. His contributions to the success of the hockey operations department have been immense. The search for his successor will begin immediately.”
The 66-year-old served as the club’s director of scouting for 22 seasons. Conte was promoted to executive vice president in September 2006. He also spent eight years as New Jersey’s assistant director of scouting. Conte originally joined the team as a full-time scout during the 1984-85 season.
His former draft picks include Martin Brodeur, Scott Niedermayer and Patrik Elias.
Scott Gomez isn’t the only member of the 2014-15 New Jersey Devils who will not return next season.
Devils GM Ray Shero has informed the agents of Steve Bernier, Mark Fraser and Peter Harrold that they should explore the market come July 1.
“We’re not going forward right now with any of them,” said Shero per Tom Gulitti of The Record. “I’ve notified their agents that they’re going to July 1. I talked to Scott Gomez’s agent and we’re not going to go be going in that direction. Bernier, we’re going to July 1 and just see what’s out there. Fraser the same thing and Harrold likely the same thing.”
Bernier had 16 goals and 32 points in 67 games with the Devils during the 2014-15 season.
Harrold scored three goals and two assists to go along with a minus-10 rating in 43 games while Fraser appeared in 34 games for the Devils last season registering four assists.
“I think it’s really good for us to look and for them to look to see what’s out there,” Shero said. “That’s more coming from my end than theirs. … You never close any doors, but to me with Steve Bernier, he had a really good year last year, maybe there’s better for him out there with another team.”
Related: UFA of the Day: Antoine Vermette
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.
The New Jersey Devils will reportedly introduce John Hynes as the club’s new head coach at a press conference on Tuesday at noon.
Hynes spent this season as head coach of the American Hockey League’s Wilkes Barre-Scranton Penguins.
Devils GM Ray Shero is quite familiar with Hynes. While the GM of the Penguins Shero promoted Hynes, 40, to be the head coach in Wilkes Barre-Scranton in 2010.
Hynes also has a prior relationship with Devils’ goaltender Cory Schneider.
“I actually had coach Hynes when I was playing for the under-18 team (2003-04). He was the head coach of the U.S. team and then he was an assistant at the world juniors,” Schneider told Rich Chere of The Star-Ledger. “Obviously it’s been a little while since then, but I do remember him being extremely detailed and prepared and a great motivator.
“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.”
Hynes posted a 231-126-27 record in five AHL seasons and took the Penguins to the playoffs in each season.
The New Jersey Devils’ pursuit of a new head coach continues, and while they may once again come out and refute the latest reports, it sounds like we can cross off some names and promote another.
TSN’s Bob McKenzie reports that John Hynes (coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins’ AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton) may be the current front-runner. Meanwhile, McKenzie notes that one can probably cross former Tampa Bay Lightning coach Guy Boucher (pictured) off the list of possible candidates, as it appears that he’ll continue to coach in Switzerland.
That last bit of news may be a bummer to some, as many found some entertainment in hypothesizing about the source of Boucher’s Bond villain-style scar. The guy also tended to make some humorously dramatic facial expressions, as you can see from this post’s main image.
(You could also make a joke about upping the use of the 1-3-1 trap in New Jersey, if you’re into especially nerdy hockey humor.)
Hynes certainly makes sense from a familiarity standpoint, as new Devils GM Ray Shero is quite familiar with him. Beyond that, he’s enjoyed quite a bit of success in the AHL and seemed to have a good chance to nab the Penguins’ gig last summer, at least according to betting odds.
By no means is this official, but McKenzie does discuss what would happen next if the Devils do make the decision: