NEWARK, N.J. -- San Jose Sharks coach Peter DeBoer has no regrets over the three-plus seasons he spent as coach of the New Jersey Devils.
DeBoer returns to Prudential Center on Friday for the first time since being fired by the Devils on Dec. 26, 2014. At that time, the Devils were 12-17-7 and nine points out of a Stanley Cup Playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
"I loved every minute of my time with the Devils," DeBoer said. "I loved working for (then-general manager) Lou Lamoriello and my family loved living in the area and still does. When I look back on the experience here I have nothing but great memories and great friends."
DeBoer coached the Devils from 2011-14 as well as the Florida Panthers from 2008-11. He helped produce a stingy defensive team during his tenure with the Devils, who allowed the third-least amount of 5-on-5 shots against per minute from 2012 to 2014.
DeBoer's only trip to the playoffs came in 2012, when the Devils lost a six-game series to the Los Angeles Kings in the Stanley Cup Final.
"He's got [San Jose] playing well to start," Devils goaltender Cory Schneider said. "I think the feeling over here was that we all really enjoyed him as a coach. I personally had a great experience with him and a good relationship. We just didn't get the job done for him last year and unfortunately it's part of the business. But he's landed in a good spot and we all figured he would. He's a good coach who will get a good chance and it seems like he's in a good spot."
The Devils will certainly look a bit different to DeBoer. Devils coach John Hynes will have seven players in the lineup that never played for DeBoer.
"There's a lot of new faces," he said. "I looked at the lineups, a lot of new faces in the lineup too. But still some good friends. I got a chance to see some of the staff that is still here and there's a lot of good people here."
DeBoer, 47, was happy to learn veteran defenseman Andy Greene was named captain.
"I talked to [Greene] Friday morning," DeBoer said with a smile. "It's a well-deserved honor for him. He follows some great leaders here like Zach Parise, Bryce Salvador, and Andy fits right in with those guys."
DeBoer was surprised when Lamoriello resigned from his post to become the new GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs on July 23. Ray Shero had been named Devils GM on May 4. At that time, Lamoriello remained with the organization as Devils president.
"I was surprised and a little sad," DeBoer said. "When you think of the New Jersey Devils you think of Lou. I can't say enough about what he did for me and the environment he provided me to work in at a key time in my career when I arrived here. I'll forever be grateful for that and wouldn't trade my years with him for anything. It was great experience."
He's excited for a new opportunity in San Jose.
"It's really energizing any time you take a new job with a new group," DeBoer said. "Particularly with this group's background. San Jose has won and been competitive for a long time and I think looking they're looking for a little reset, and we're trying to provide that."