The New Jersey Devils took care of some business on Thursday morning, as they handed head coach John Hynes a multi-year extension.
Hynes and general manager Ray Shero have done a remarkable job of resurrecting the Devils from the dead in just a short amount of time. When they took over in their respective roles in 2015, the state of the Devils franchise wasn’t great. They had just come off a 13th place finish in the East and there wasn’t much youth coming through the pipeline.
The Devils missed the playoffs in their first two seasons on the job (they finished last in the East in 2016-17), but things began changing around the organization at that point. The two biggest moves were trading for Taylor Hall and drafting Nico Hischier first overall. Those two acquisitions allowed the Devils to be one of the biggest surprises in the league last season. No one expected them to make the playoffs, but that’s exactly what they did. They pushed the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round, but eventually fell in five games. Still, the future seemed bright.
This season, they’ve come back down to earth. Even though they’re 13th in the East right now, it’s hard to be down on a team that showed flashes just last season. They may have overachieved a little bit in 2017-18, but there’s no denying that Hynes has pushed a lot of the right buttons since taking over behind the bench.
“John’s leadership has been instrumental in building both culture and systems that are focused on the development of our players,” Shero said in a release. “He has cultivated a group of veteran leaders, while helping our young players develop and gain experience. John is to be commended for the progress the team has made under his direction and this commitment shows that we are confident in the role he will play in our future success.”
In less than four years on the job, Hynes has already become the second-winningest head coach in franchise history. And based on the organization’s commitment to him, he’ll have the chance to close the gap between himself (125 victories) and Jacques Lemaire (276).