Ray Shero was named as the fourth general manager in the history of the New Jersey Devils on Monday.
The announcement was made by team president Lou Lamoriello, who had served as GM since April 1987. Lamoriello will remain in the role as Devils president of hockey operations.
"I think we have to be realistic in life in different areas and be honest and right now this is the perfect time and the perfect person with great experience [in Shero]," Lamoriello said on a conference call. "Ray has been in a couple of different organizations and had a year off, had a chance to step back and figure what went wrong and what went right and how things could be different."
Shero was GM of the Pittsburgh Penguins from 2006-14. The Penguins went to the Stanley Cup Final in consecutive seasons in 2007-08 and 2008-09, winning the Stanley Cup in 2009.
"I think we'll be the beneficiary of [this hire] as an organization," Lamoriello said. "The one thing that has been consistent in this organization and with every conversation I've had with Ray was the ability he has. He has no ego and knows the logo is the most important thing and when you get that that's a good feeling; a very positive thing happened today."
Lamoriello completed his 28th season as Devils' president/GM in 2014-15. During his time, the Devils won three Stanley Cup championships, five Eastern Conference titles and nine division titles in 21 Stanley Cup Playoffs appearances.
"I've known [Lou Lamoriello] since playing against him in college when I was at St. Lawrence and he was coaching Providence," Shero said. "Before Lou was GM, my father [Hockey Hall of Fame coach Fred Shero] was a color analyst when the team started and Max McNab was GM and I hung around there quite a bit when I was in college. So the opportunity for me to work with a Lou Lamoriello, who is a Hockey Hall of Fame member and one of the most respected GMs in the history of the game, certainly was a great opportunity I was not going to turn down and I'm looking forward to working with the team. It's a great opportunity for me and my family."
Shero has most recently been actively involved with USA Hockey and is a member of its National Team Advisory Board. He has enjoyed having an opportunity to spend more time with his family; one of his sons will be a freshman at Boston College and he has another attending Kimball Union Academy in New Hampshire.
Shero was fired as GM of the Penguins on May 16, 2014, finishing with a 373-193-56 in his eight seasons with the organization.
"Ray is well respected throughout the hockey industry and knows what it takes to win," Lamoriello said. "His 22 seasons of NHL front-office experience will be beneficial to the New Jersey Devils organization. I look forward to working alongside Ray."
Lamoriello said the rest of the team's managerial staff will remain intact, including the scouting staff. Shero will immediately begin the search for a new head coach. Lamoriello served as co-coach alongside Scott Stevens and Adam Oates for the final 46 games of the regular season (20-19-7) after the firing of Peter DeBoer on Dec. 26.
Lamoriello confirmed that, while both he and Shero will consult with team owners Josh Harris and David Blitzer on all major decisions, Shero will ultimately determine the team's new head coach for 2015-16. Shero said there is no timetable on when that decision will be made.
"When you take a look around the League, three quarters of the coaches have had second opportunities and have won a Stanley Cup so in working with Lou, he knows the challenges of this position," Shero said. "Pittsburgh was different when I took over after coming from Ottawa [as an assistant GM from 1993-98] and Nashville Predators [1998-2006]. I was working with tremendous people in those organizations.
The Devils had missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs their first five seasons in New Jersey prior to Lamoriello becoming GM. He built a perennial contender that won the Stanley Cup in 1995, 2000 and 2003, and made it to the Stanley Cup Final five times between 1995 and 2012. But the Devils have failed to qualify for the postseason in each of the past three seasons.
"New Jersey has a foundation that for years has been built upon defensive hockey and goaltending and, looking from outside, maybe up front is an area [we will need to improve]," Shero said. "We want to build the team back to a playoff team and once we get there, stay there, and compete for a Stanley Cup again."
Lamoriello refused to look back on his career when asked about his illustrious tenure as Devils GM.
"I'm here; I'm not going anywhere," Lamoriello said. "The focus is on getting back to where we should be and belong and what's expected. We've had the support of ownership for the past couple of years and they haven't been good years [after missing the playoffs]. We're going to work to get back there, so that's what it's about.
"The emotion is what hasn't been done and what can and should be done. I take responsibility for that. we have a great staff here and [Shero] knows that, but now is a chance to move forward."