With the recent news of Devils owner Joshua Harris making headlines, purchasing near 5% the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers, one of the other distracting headlines before this was that Joshua Harris is looking to purchase MLB’s New York Mets, meanwhile, he and his other managing partner and good friend, David Blitzer, also run the Philadelphia 76ers of the NBA. They also have a small stake in EPL Soccer’s Crystal Palace which was documented by The Associated Press with the stake worth 50 million pounds sterling.
To summarize this back into Devils hockey and business talk into plain English, it means I have so much money and other places to reinvest and reallocate my own money. What really should be done if I and my co-host Jim Bringer were in the same shoes would be only owning the New Jersey Devils, making a full time GM hire and then having that general manager hire the right head coach and coaching staff. On top of the coaching staff, it would be hiring another person to step in to fill the void of Hockey Operations.
Jim and I will mention more from the previous paragraph in an upcoming podcast episode where the pod is now called Heads Up Hockey. What I am most concerned going forward is the personnel. The hierarchy hires will make a domino effect that kind of resembles a pyramid. A pyramid of hires that in a way when Lou Lamoriello hired Ray Shero to be the GM, Shero hired Dan MacKinnon, Tom Fitzgerald (Interim GM now), Paul Castron (former DOA Scouting), John Hynes (now in Nashville after being fired) and Alain Nasreddine (interim head coach), just to name a few.
So once a foundation of hires is made, the power of inferencing to which players are possibly drafted, signed and traded for vice versa can lead us to see what the 2020-21 New Jersey Devils roster may project. Back to the managing side, it has been said there is a lot of “what’s next” throughout the hiring process. With the way it sounds after TSN’s Darren Dreger reported Peter Laviolette to be the favourite candidate amongst a few names left, I would be glad to have him on board because Peter knows how to get the most out of young players, especially really good studs in the NHL.
Rookies and young veterans in New Jersey will learn to grow off Laviolette if he can successfully lead this team to success during the season and in the playoffs. The Devils haven’t had a real fiery, very passionate coach since the late Pat Burns was at the helm. Laviolette, 55, has had a great, outstanding career, showing he can get a fast, attacking, supportive, very gritty style of hockey. His mentoring of Jack Hughes and his history with P.K. Subban will be integral when building this Devils team for both near and long-term sustainable success.
As much as I really like Gerard Gallant, Gallant may not be interested because he might feel better suited for the Seattle expansion team. What I like about Peter Laviolette, if I’m Tom Fitzgerald, is that he still has a very impressive winning track record from his recent tenure with the Nashville Predators. Peter from 2014-2019, yielded 687 points while working as bench boss in 410 games.
That basically means out of that time span Peter Laviolette had an average win %percentage of 558.4 which is remarkable. Also, his playoff record as a coach is very hard to pass up on which I believe is the other factor hiring him possibly. When John Hynes inherited the Devils, his phrase was “fast, attacking and supportive.” Sure, in the first season, it wasn’t quite there, but the younger players over the past few seasons began to deliver better on that. But the team under him did get more physical, aggressive and faster.
Now, with the possibility of Peter Laviolette seeming to be “the guy” to take over, he may bring that fire Devils fans over the years miss in a strategic minded coach with lots of passion. That passion that could be brought similarly from how I remembered him as the enemy coach in Philadelphia when Wayne Simmonds was one of his key players leading that club to two seasons worth 282 points in 164 games coached while Giroux and Scotty Hartnell amongst others were in their prime.
Having a coach like Peter around guys like Jack Hughes, Nico Hischier and P.K. Subban would be a positive, passionate, and a very charismatic character. One of the things I stress on my podcast that I want to see in the organization is that extra compete level internally to win jobs and also being tough on your opponents. Having watched P.K. when healthy in Nashville under Laviolette, you can notice P.K. being set up to score 40-59 points a season, including 10-16 goals when feeling healthy.
One thing I can point out about Tom Fitzgerald likely feeling really good about Peter Laviolette is that they are both USA Hockey guys, so it’s quite interesting the networking type bias can be favourable. However, this shouldn’t be all that’s out there because with the Draft Lottery now June 26th, it would be great to see who the full time GM and coaching hires are by the end of the month when the pick order is revealed.