After losing in Dallas last night by only one goal despite being outplayed for major stretches of the game, the New Jersey Devils reaffirmed their faith in their coach and announced a multi-year extension for John Hynes this morning via this release:
OFFICIAL: The #NJDevils have agreed to a multi-year contract extension with Head Coach John Hynes.— New Jersey Devils (@NJDevils) January 3, 2019
: https://t.co/DerApjJPU9 pic.twitter.com/jat2XRkZ2g
Hynes had already become the longest tenured head coach in the tri-state area when the New York Jets fired Todd Bowles but after this fourth year in New Jersey, Hynes will get at least a few more years to extend that run.
Hynes guided the Devils to their first playoff appearance in six seasons last year, but will need a serious push in the second half of this season to reach that goal again as they currently sit 10 points out of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. He has the second-most wins by a coach in Devils history and the team is 125-122-38 during his tenure behind the bench so far. While this isn’t exactly a glowing record, it is widely acknowledged that he had a tough task his first few years as the roster aged out and dealt with the leftovers from the last regime.
This extension exhibits faith in Hynes by management, namely Ray Shero and owners Josh Harris and David Blitzer. In the above release, his management and leadership qualities are cited frequently and Harris and Blitzer believe that he can grow and help the team grow back into a perennial contender.
Hynes is a polarizing figure among fans, as any head coach tends to become when a team is not meeting its expectations. However, if both players and management cite the aforementioned leadership qualities as the most prominent characteristic of Hynes’s style, then this extended leash he is being given makes more sense. Hynes unlocked the potential of Taylor Hall all the way to a Hart Trophy-winning season and has contributed greatly to the revamped culture of the Devils. He was Shero’s choice to usher in a new era of Devils hockey and hopefully, Shero can provide him a few more notable assets to work with during this off-season after spending the majority of the last three overhauling the roster entirely.
The timing of this extension makes sense given that this upcoming off-season is an enormous one for New Jersey. Several major players will be eligible for lofty contract extensions and locking in Hynes gives an assurance of stability in coaching and a unified message coming from management. Hynes needed a new contract after the conclusion of 2018-19 regardless, but getting this done now allows Shero to focus more on players and less on staff in the off-season. The familiarity aspect and the perceived respect he gets from the current players is also a strong recruitment/retention selling point.
Do you agree with this extension? Let us know what you think.