Devils re-up with AHL coach of the year Kowalsky

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Rick Kowalsky’s sixth year in charge of the Devils’ AHL affiliate in Albany was arguably his best — and as a reward, New Jersey has inked him to a two-year contract extension.

From the club:

Kowalsky, 44, is the reigning Louis A.R. Pieri Memorial Award winner as the AHL’s most outstanding coach. During the 2015-16 season, he guided the AHL Devils’ to their best record in franchise history, while managing a roster that saw only four players skate more than 50 games.

Albany’s 46-20-8-2 record for a .671 points percentage finished ranked third in the AHL and second in the Eastern Conference. The team advanced to the Division Finals for the first time in franchise history.

“We are excited to have Rick continue to lead the development of our young players in the AHL and at the same time compete for a Calder Cup,” New Jersey assistant GM Tom Fitzgerald said in a release. “Rick has established himself as one of the top coaches in the AHL and we are certain he will continue to operate at a high level. We now have a strong sense of stability among our NHL, AHL and Developmental Coaches.”

Kowalsky has been the head coach in Albany since 2010, and has graduated the likes of Adam Henrique, Jacob Josefson, Reid Boucher and John Merrill to the parent club.