Two members of the coaching staff in New Jersey will be looking for new homes.
During a previous piece that I had written, I had mentioned head coach Lindy Ruff and staff were “all under evaluation.” New Jersey Devils general manager, Tom Fitzgerald, knows that his penalty kill percentage was 80% which is fairly commendable. However, an 8.04% increase would have gotten the Devils tied with the Carolina Hurricanes as the NHL’s best in PK%.
Penalty Kill Conundrums & Improvements
The Penalty Kill was very fluky with too many shorthanded goals squashing the New Jersey Devils’ chances of increasing offensive breakouts. Alain Nasreddine has been around too long and survived two prior coaching changes before his release. The technique of Nasreddine has gone stale and no longer works with the young vets, and older veterans on the team.
With so many young rookies looking to join a batch of maturing players, this is the right moment for a new voice. Fitzgerald needs to make a savvy business hire by finding more strategically sound improvements. The Devils have to improve over the 80% Penalty Kill and show signs of consistency and improvement.
Moving On From Mark Recchi
With Mark Recchi finally off the power play duty role, things may be looking up for the club’s special teams. The Devils’ power-play percentage was 15.63 this season. This is much lower than the league average of 21.46%. With that being said, the team was still a few percentage points above Philadelphia’s 11.86% for the NHL worst overall.
There are several options available that could take Rechhi’s spot in the near future. For instance, there are a lot of great secondary coaches on current playoff teams that may be open to taking a bigger role with New Jersey.
The club is moving on from Recchi as he has not been anywhere near expectations in the past few seasons.
Looking To 2022-23
There are a lot of young players as Jack Hughes and Yegor Sharangovich are cogs in creating not only the offense but also the power play scoring. Young players like Dawson Mercer and upcoming players like Alexander Holtz need to be able to fit into a system that will benefit them.
The power play needs to have a blend of shooting with high-quality traffic up-front, and less passing. The passing lanes need to be lined up properly and there also needs to be a shoot-first mentality. Dougie Hamilton and Jack Hughes will be guys looking to benefit from a new approach. Fans have a high expectation for Alexander Holtz and would love to see him succeed in New Jersey.
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