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New coach Hynes has Devils adding optimism

Thursday, 08.06.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2015-16

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

New Jersey Devils co-owner Joshua Harris was straightforward when discussing the decision to hire Ray Shero to replace Lou Lamoriello as general manager.

"We bought the team [in August 2013] with the intention of winning, and obviously, the last two seasons have been disappointing to us," Harris said in early May. "We want to build an elite organization, and what that means is we're consistently in the mix and deep in the playoffs for a Stanley Cup.

"We're going to really put in place plans that allow us to do that. Every decision will be made around that philosophy."

Harris couldn't have envisioned that Lamoriello, who resigned as Devils president July 23 to become general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs, wouldn't be around to help put those plans in place.

Before Lamoriello took the Toronto job after nearly three decades with New Jersey, it was clear Shero was calling the shots.

He hired John Hynes as coach June 2. Hynes coached the Pittsburgh Penguins' American Hockey League affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton when Shero was Penguins GM.

On July 9, Shero announced David Conte would not return as Devils scouting director. Conte was a scout for New Jersey for 31 years.

Shero is hopeful the moves have created optimism about the future of the Devils. Here are four others:

Arrival of Shero, Hynes signals new era for Devils

Thursday, 08.06.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2015-16

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

NHL.com continues its preview of the 2015-16 season, which will include in-depth looks at all 30 teams throughout August.

The New Jersey Devils made some alterations on and off the ice after failing to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs a third straight season.

Among those moves, there was none bigger than Ray Shero replacing Hockey Hall of Fame member Lou Lamoriello as general manager on May 4.

Lamoriello stayed on as president but resigned July 23 to become GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs, a move that took many by surprise. Lamoriello, who was Devils president and GM since 1987, won the Stanley Cup three times in those 28 years (1995, 2000, 2003).

In June, Shero introduced John Hynes as the fourth Devils coach in five years. Lamoriello and assistants Scott Stevens and Adam Oates served as co-coaches after Peter DeBoer was fired in December 2014.

Hynes was coach of the Wilkes Barre/Scranton Penguins of the American Hockey League the past five seasons. His team reached the conference finals twice and the conference semifinals twice. The 40-year-old is the youngest coach in the NHL.

Questions surround Devils' attempt to improve

Thursday, 08.06.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2015-16

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

Ray Shero has done his best to make certain the New Jersey Devils are equipped with the tools necessary to prosper this season since becoming their general manager on May 4.

His first order of business was naming John Hynes as coach, which he did on June 2.

"I understand how the players feel with all the changes they're going through," Hynes said. "It's personal yet important to know as a coach where each guy is at individually, and we've been doing quite of bit of video work on systems and styles of play, line combinations and understanding our players."

Shero has promised to create a much younger, faster team. He has signed or re-signed several young players to challenge for roster spots in training camp, and approved the selection of forward Pavel Zacha with the No. 6 choice in the 2015 NHL Draft.

He is one of three key questions facing the Devils:

Zacha, Santini among Devils' top five prospects

Thursday, 08.06.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2015-16

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

New Jersey Devils coach John Hynes knows how difficult it is for young players to realize their dream of playing in the NHL.

Hynes spent the past five seasons mentoring many talented prospects as coach of Wilkes Barre/Scranton, the American Hockey League affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

"It's more mental than physical for these young players hoping to get their shot and remain in the NHL," Hynes said. "It's about focus at practice or meetings and understanding that the rhythm of the season can catch up with you. Sure, these kids may have the speed, the talent and the ability, but the mental component of being able to do it consistently every day is what separates those who are ready and those who are not.

"With high-end prospects, the player will usually tell you just by watching him if he's ready or not."

Hynes is hoping to uncover a few of those players at training camp.

Here are the top five prospects in the Devils system, according to NHL.com:

New Jersey Devils fantasy hockey outlook

Thursday, 08.06.2015 / 3:00 AM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Matt Cubeta - NHL.com Fantasy Insider

As part of NHL.com's offseason 30 in 30 package, fantasy hockey insiders Matt Cubeta and Pete Jensen will break down each team's fantasy landscape. They will look at the players at the top of the ranks, an undervalued player, an overvalued player, a deep sleeper (players likely ranked outside the top 200 overall players) and the goalie outlook for each NHL team.

Leading the way: Cory Schneider

The New Jersey Devils goalie is the only Devil in my offseason top-200 rankings and he comes in as the ninth best goalie at No. 53 among all players. If he played on a better team, Schneider would have the potential to be a top five fantasy goalie. Schneider's 68 starts ranked third in the NHL last season, his .925 save percentage ranked fifth and his 2.26 goals-against average was ninth. Over the past three seasons among goalies that have played in at least 100 games, Schneider has a League-best 2.14 GAA and is third with a .924 save percentage (behind Tuukka Rask and Carey Price). Simply put, Schneider is elite. He just won't get you many wins.

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