The New Jersey Devils have reportedly interviewed Gerard Gallant for their head coaching vacancy. Here’s why he’d be a wonderful coach for them.
During the NHL season’s hiatus, the New Jersey Devils are one of several teams looking to fill their head coaching vacancy. With the regular season potentially over, the Devils have interviewed candidates to fill the full-time head coaching position left vacant by John Hynes when the Devils let go of him in December.
Though interim head coach Alain Nasreddine has done a decent job behind the bench and remains a serious candidate for the full-time position, the Devils have reportedly started interviewing other candidates. One of those candidates is former Vegas Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant. In a follow up article, Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic confirmed their interest.
Gallant is most famous for taking the expansion Vegas Golden Knights to the Stanley Cup Final in their first season back in 2017-18. However, they lost to the eventual Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals in five games. Still, that cemented Gallant as one of the best coaches in the NHL.
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Last season, Gallant helped the Golden Knights to right their ship and make the Stanley Cup Playoffs yet again. His team was a questionable penalty from Cody Eakin away from making it past the San Jose Sharks in the first round.
Gallant has also spent time with the Florida Panthers, helping them make the playoffs during the 2015-16 season. However, the team parted ways with him during the 2016-17 season and eventually got hired by the Golden Knights as their first head coach.
Gallant Makes Sense For The New Jersey Devils
Frankly, Gallant is the best head coaching candidate on the market. And I don’t believe it’s particularly close, especially when one considers the issues with Mike Babcock. From what LeBrun is reporting, it sounds like the Devils are giving Gallant more than just a courtesy call. They’re seriously interested in bringing him on board.
For Devils fans, that should be very encouraging. Gallant is a coach who can get the most out of his guys. He’s one of the best coaches in the league from a tactical standpoint. Like many coaches, his tenure in Vegas was largely undone by bad goaltending and a slump. Gallant is still a terrific coach and he could help the Devils get back to being a solid team.
This is also encouraging because it shows the Devils are serious about improving their team. Last season, they showed a ton of faith in Hynes by not moving on from him and that burned them. It’s clear the Devils don’t want to make that same mistake again.
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Now, Devils fans shouldn’t expect a quick decision. The front office has more important things to worry about right now, such as figuring out if there’s going to be summer hockey and when the offseason will start. More candidates should emerge and more interviews will be held. But it’s hard to imagine any coach being a better fit for the New Jersey Devils than Gallant.