Scott Stevens is back with the New Jersey Devils: only this time it is as an assistant coach. After retiring from the NHL, the former Devils captain was a Special Assignments coach with the team for the past four seasons. Now, Stevens will be with the club full time as he takes over in handling the defense. The Devils had a hole to fill in their coaching staff as former assistant Larry Robinson joined the San Jose Sharks just last week.
Stevens is a good fit to take over as an assistant coach because he has some coaching experience over the past handful of seasons (albeit mostly in training camp) and because he was one of the NHL's best captains and, therefore, leaders. In addition, he should be familiar with the Devils defense considering he has been around the team. It will especially be of interest to fans of the Devils to see how he works with young Swedish defenseman Adam Larsson in year two of his NHL career.
The Devils also announced that Dave Barr would remain with the club and that Matt Shaw would replace Adam Oates, who left the Devils to become head coach of the Washington Capitals. Shaw will run the power play for the Devils. The power play has been a bit of a concern for the Devils in recent seasons, to say the least. Shaw helped run the power play with the San Jose Sharks previously and last season the team finished second in the NHL in power play efficiency. While the Devils may not necessarily have a playmaker like Joe Thornton, they still have dynamic offensive players like Ilya Kovalchuk and Patrik Elias. It should be exciting to see if Shaw's influence can help improve the power play in New Jersey.
Losing Larry Robinson and Adam Oates was a bit of a blow for New Jersey as both helped the Devils reach the Stanley Cup Finals last season. It remains to be seen if Scott Stevens and Matt Shaw can truly replace them but, for right now at least, everything looks good with those two on board and with Peter DeBoer back as head coach.
Michael Pellegrini has been a fan of the New Jersey Devils since the mid to late 1990s when they had players like Doug Gilmour and Dave Andreychuk in the later stages of their career.