Yesterday saw the New Jersey Devils make two moves that should improve the squad overall in 2022-23. No, it wasn’t anything in terms of any players joining the roster, as with the playoffs just getting started the team isn’t going to be able to make an impactful signing. It wasn’t a guaranteed high draft choice, as we’re still five days away from the draft lottery. Instead, it was two coaching moves that fans have been desiring for some time, with Alain Nasreddine’s contract not being renewed and Mark Recchi being relieved of his duties.
While Nasreddine had some positive moments/impact on the team at times (penalty kill was good for stretches, he did well as interim coach), some of the general defending was troubling, and he did little to nothing to correct that. Additionally, many of the defenders under his charge demonstrated little growth overall while he was coaching them. Recchi was more disappointing, as his power play was utterly powerless; as soon as one player was injured/unavailable, the whole thing would tend to fall apart. More than one important piece out? Well, I would point to the number of shorthanded goals allowed by the team this season as evidence of what happens in that situation.
While again these two moves were wanted by fans, it’s not good enough just yet. Without even getting to players (yet), there’s still one more coaching move that needs to be made. I leave the decision on Lindy Ruff up to both Stephen and all of you, however does anyone want to see Dave Rogalski come back? I feel like this is beating the proverbial dead horse, but with how horrific seven different goalies looked under his eye just this year alone, the Devils needs to move on from him sooner rather than later. There’s no guarantee moving on from him fixes things next season without additionally adding some insurance in the crease, but with how bad the results were this season, the Devils need to cut ties if they want to improve their record next season.
Now subtracting these coaches does not necessarily mean that things will automatically improve, but the odds of it happening certainly goes up. Was anyone confident that the exact same staff was going to take the same core roster, even with the possibility of new complimentary players, and somehow turn them into a winner? Even without a single second of 2022-23 having been played at this point, a lot of us more than likely have the same answer to that question.
The Devils have already begun to assess what players will be in uniform for them next season through exit interviews, and there are certainly some moves that will be made. The interesting portion of this will be once signings and trades begin to be made; there’s quite a few names floating around that either the team may want to move on from, or the opposite, however that is an article for another time. The bottom line here however, is that the Devils have started to improve their team by subtracting those that are negatively impacting performance one way or another. The takeaway is that it needs to continue for the Devils to be relevant again soon.
What are your thoughts on the coaching changes and other moves that can be made; do you think the Devils should retain Rogalski? Should he have been relieved along with Recchi? What other subtractions do you think would improve the team if any? Leave any and all comments below and thanks as always for reading!