For the first time in nearly three decades, there will be someone new shaping the New Jersey Devils. On Monday, the Devils announced the hiring of Ray Shero as their new general manager. He will replace Lou Lamoriello, who had held the position for 28 seasons. Lamoriello will continue to serve as the team’s president.
“I think we have to be realistic in life in different areas and be honest and right now this is the perfect time and the perfect person with great experience [in Shero],” said Lamoriello. “Ray has been in a couple of different organizations and had a year off, had a chance to step back and figure what went wrong and what went right and how things could be different.”
Under Lamoriello, the Devils qualified for the playoffs on 21 occasions; making the Stanley Cup Finals five times, winning three. They did not qualify for the postseason in 2014-2015, finishing the season with a record of 32-36-14. Lamoriello fired head coach Peter DeBoer in December, replacing him with the triumvirate of Scott Stevens, Adam Oats and himself.
Shero last served as the general manager of the Pittsburgh Penguins from 2006-2014. Under his leadership, the Penguins went to consecutive Stanley Cup finals, winning in 2009.
“I’ve known [Lou Lamoriello] since playing against him in college when I was at St. Lawrence and he was coaching Providence,” said Shero. “Before Lou was GM, my father [Hockey Hall of Fame coach Fred Shero] was a color analyst when the team started and Max McNab was GM and I hung around there quite a bit when I was in college. So the opportunity for me to work with a Lou Lamoriello, who is a Hockey Hall of Fame member and one of the most respected GMs in the history of the game, certainly was a great opportunity I was not going to turn down and I’m looking forward to working with the team.”
Himself familiar with both Lamoriello and the Devils organization, Shero did not completely rule out bringing aboard a certain former goaltender with whom he shares that quality.
“He had a fantastic career with the Devils and I’ve seen a number of these guys that when they stop playing it’s a little bit different than they thought in a good or bad way,” Shero said of longtime Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur. “So, it will be interesting to see what he thought and, again, who knows what his future plans will be with St. Louis? To get any further than that is probably inappropriate, so I’ll just kind of leave it where it is.”
Shero also did not rule out bringing aboard a coach he is familiar with. Dan Bylsma was coach of the Penguins when they won the Stanley Cup in 2009, with Shero as general manager.
“I believe Dan is a really good coach,” said Shero. “He’ll be a head coach again in the National Hockey League, but I’ve got to do what’s best for the Devils and Dan’s got to do what’s best for him, and if that leads us a certain way, so be it.”