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Stevens interested in staying with Devils: report @NHLdotcom

Scott Stevens said Wednesday he would be interested in remaining on the New Jersey Devils coaching staff as an assistant following the hiring Tuesday of John Hynes as coach, according to

"I haven't looked elsewhere," Stevens said. "The Devils are my first choice, no question about that."

Stevens, 51, was captain of the Devils' three Stanley Cup championship teams and served as an assistant coach and special assignment coach in the organization prior to taking over behind the bench along with Adam Oates and general manager Lou Lamoriello on Dec. 26 after coach Peter DeBoer was fired.

After the Devils missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the fourth time in five seasons, Ray Shero was named GM replacing Lamoriello, who remains the Devils president. Shero considered Stevens and Oates for the Devils coaching position before hiring Hynes, who he worked with during his time with the Pittsburgh Penguins, when Shero was GM and Hynes coached their American Hockey League affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

"He's worked himself through college to the AHL. He's put his time in and his track record is outstanding," Stevens said. "He's well-liked by his players. He's a communicator and he is young. And young is good. There's no question I believe the Devils are going to be rebuilding and he's probably the way to go."

The Devils featured a number of strong young defensemen on their roster this season, including Adam Larsson, Eric Gelinas, Jon Merrill and Damon Severson. Larsson, the fourth pick in the 2011 NHL Draft, appeared to make significant strides under Stevens' guidance.

Shero told on Tuesday that Stevens and Oates would be considered as assistants if they were willing to stay. There was no immediate word on whether Oates was amenable to returning in that role, but Stevens is interested.

"I'm just interested in being in hockey whether it's a head coach at some point or an assistant," he told reporter Tom Gulitti. "I'm really passionate about the game and I really enjoyed the last year and the opportunity to do the job and try to help out. I thought it went pretty well, but I'm just interested in staying in the game and getting better and being part of the building process and being part of a championship in some way."

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