Following a less-than-expected start to their 2019-20 season, the New Jersey Devils decided it was time to make a coaching change by relieving John Hynes of his head coaching duties on Tuesday. Alain Nasreddine was named the interim head coach. Peter Horachek will also receive a promotion from pro scout to assistant coach.
“John (Hynes) played an integral role in the development of this team in establishing a foundation for our future and we are grateful for his commitment, passion and unmatched work ethic,” said GM Ray Shero in a press release. “John is a respected leader, developer of talent and friend which makes this decision difficult. We are a team who values and takes pride in accountability to the results we produce. We are collectively disappointed in our performance on the ice, and believe changes were needed starting with our head coach. I have been consistent in my desire to build something here in New Jersey that earns the respect of teams throughout the league and pride in our fans. That is not where we were heading and for me to tolerate anything less was not acceptable.”
The Devils currently sit at the bottom of the standings in the Metropolitan Division with a 9-13-4 record (22 points). Hynes joins Mike Babcock (Toronto Maple Leafs) and Bill Peters (Calgary Flames) as the first head coaches to depart their respective teams during the 2019-20 season.
“Nas (Alain Nasreddine) has a long history as a respected leader both as a player and a coach in the respective roles he has served for his teams,” Shero continued. “His experience as a captain and alternate captain on the ice, in addition to his responsibilities behind the bench, will serve him well as he leads this team through necessary changes to alter our current trajectory.”
Hynes' tenure with the Devils concludes with a 150-159-4 record (.487) in 354 career regular-season games (second-most games coached in franchise history). Although he ranks second in wins and points (345) for a Devils head coach, he was only able to take his team to the playoffs once in his four full seasons behind the bench (2018) — losing in the first round to the Tampa Bay Lightning in five games.
The Devils will face the Golden Knights (14-11-4) in Newark on Tuesday.