General manager Lou Lamoriello knew swift and definitive action was necessary as the New Jersey Devils
struggled to keep pace in the Metropolitan Division and saw their hopes for a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs recede each day.
Lamoriello’s response came Friday with the firing of coach Peter DeBoer, who was in his fourth season in New Jersey. No replacement was named and Lamoriello said he will not comment further until he addresses the players Saturday morning.
The Devils have not made the Stanley Cup Playoffs since 2012, when DeBoer, in his first season in New Jersey, led them to the Final. New Jersey is on the verge of missing the playoffs for the third straight season. Prior to 2013-14, the Devils had not missed the playoffs in consecutive seasons since 1985-87.
DeBoer's replacement will inherit a team that's seventh in the Metropolitan Division with 31 points, nine points out of the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference, despite playing the most games in the conference.
The new coach will also inherit a team that lacks a true No. 1 center and a No. 1 defenseman. He'll take over a team that is 28th in the NHL in offense and features a 42-year-old, Jaromir Jagr, tied for its lead in scoring.
How is it that a team two victories from winning the Stanley Cup less than three years ago could fall so far in such a short period of time with the same coach and general manager?