newjerseydevils.com – After seven years with the Devils' coaching staff, John MacLean has a new role within the organization. He was named Monday as the new head coach of the team's American Hockey League affiliate in Lowell, Mass.
"It's a good move for me to get an opportunity to be a head coach and go down and get some learning experience as far as handling my own team," MacLean said Tuesday.
He was given the option of either keeping his assistant coach post under new bench boss Jacques Lemaire or assuming the head coaching duties in Lowell. He chose to take a bold new step in his career.
"For me, at this point, going to Lowell to be the head coach is a good thing," he said.
Lemaire was named Monday as Brent Sutter's successor behind the Devils' bench, ending any speculation that Devils' President/CEO/General Manager Lou Lamoriello might tap MacLean for the job.
"I don't think it was a secret that I was considered, but I didn't get it and I'm still working with the organization and working toward the next level," said MacLean, who was drafted sixth overall by the Devils in 1983 and was a member of the club's first Stanley Cup title in 1995.
This will be the first head coaching position for MacLean, the franchise points leader (701) until he was surpassed last March by Patrik Elias
. MacLean will work alongside returning Lowell assistant Kevin Dean, and goaltending coach Chris Terreri.
"I've been an assistant coach here for a few years, and if this is something where people look at and measure you by head coaching experience, well, I will have head coaching experience," he said. "It will be just another thing to add, and it will be a positive."
MacLean's role at this week's rookie camp won't change with his new title. He'll continue to lead drills on the ice with the club's prospects, some of whom he'll guide this season in Lowell.
"It'll be different and it'll be something that I have to learn," he said. "I'm confident I can handle it, but I'm sure I'll make mistakes too. I'm just looking forward to the opportunity."
He added: "I'm smart enough to know that I don't know everything. I'll learn."