The New Jersey Devils were active today with some minor signings and the hiring of a new assistant coach. First, the signings. The Devils continued giving new deals to their outstanding restricted free agents. Goaltender Keith Kinkaid and forward Mike Sislo both signed on new contracts, as reported earlier this morning by Tom Gulitti at Fire & Ice. Terms of the deals are not yet known. Both will likely start in Albany for the 2013-14 season. Sislo will likely remain there, way down in the depth chart. Kinkaid could still be the #3 goalie in the system. As much as you like him, it's not going to be good news if he's up with New Jersey in the coming season. Besides, he should do better than a 90.5% save percentage in Albany first before we think about what he could become in the NHL. These two being signed leaves only two restricted free agents left: defensemen Dan Kelly and forward Adam Henrique. Henrique told Rich Chere at NJ.com that a deal was "close" on Thursday; so I don't anticipate too much of a wait. He will be signed at some point this summer.
The Devils also hired a new assistant coach: Mike Foligno. Gulitti reported the news earlier this afternoon here at Fire & Ice. Foligno isn't just a former player, wherein put up 727 points in a 1,018 game career, but he has also has a wealth of coaching experience. Foligno got his start in coaching in the 1995-96 season. He started as an assistant for the St. John's Maple Leafs and managed to be promoted to head coach of St. John's and then an assistant with Toronto in the same season. He then became an assistant with Colorado for the 1997-98 season before taking the head coaching job with the Hershey Bears. For five seasons, the Bears consistently made the playoffs and went as far as the third round twice. For the 2003-04 season, he became the head coach and general manager of his former junior team, the Sudbury Wolves. They were up-and-down for seven seasons, but managed to be their franchise's winningest coach. He joined the Anaheim organization as an assistant for Randy Carlyle for the 2010-11 season, but he was let go when the team fired Carlyle in 2011. He spent last season as an assistant for the Chicago Wolves and now he's up with New Jersey.
What's not clear is what his role will be with the team. Given that Matt Shaw, who ran the power play, left, one would figure Foligno would take that spot. Not necessarily, according to Lou based on his quotes to Tom Gulitti. Apparently, the main criteria that DeBoer and Lou - I get the sense this was their call together - was someone with experience as a player and a coach. Foligno certainly fits both of them, but it remains to be seen as far as how he can help the Devils. Maybe it actually will be on the power play. When Anaheim signed him, for example, it was to replace the assistant coach who ran their power play: Newell Brown. Unless I'm mistaken, and I could be, why else would he replace a special teams coach if he wasn't going to be involved? I think we'll see what Peter DeBoer does with him in training camp. The hiring of Foligno should be it with respect to coaching changes. Gulitti reported that the Albany coaches will remain the same, so that's set for the next season.
Once Henrique and possibly one other player is signed, then that may just about be it for the offseason. It sure has been an active one. Please let me know what you think of the signings the Devils made today, be it for the two players or Foligno. If you know anything at all about Foligno as a coach, then please leave that in the comments as well so we can all learn. Thank you for reading.