On Tuesday, the Devils announced that Peter DeBoer had been hired as the new head coach of the New Jersey Devils. We share with you, our thoughts and analysis on the hiring of Peter DeBoer.
Darren’s Thoughts and Analysis:
The Devils hired their coach this afternoon and it came in the form of a coach that has NHL experience. I do think they learned a valuable lesson from the MacLean last season. So what do we know about Peter DeBoer? He recently spent 3 years coaching the Florida Panthers and was relieved of his duties as their head coach at the finish of the 2010/2011 season. DeBoer never led his Panthers to the playoffs, going 103-107-36 in that span but to be fair, the Panthers haven’t made it to the playoffs since 2000. However, each season saw his team decline and their record get progressively worse.
BUT, these are the Florida Panthers we are talking about. A team that consistently had a low-end roster. He’s never had the benefit of coaching guys like Kovalchuk, Parise and Broduer at this level but has had success at the junior level. However, when you have a team that has talent on its roster, expectations come along with that talent and it will be interesting to see if DeBoer can deliver on those expectations.
We do know that that DeBoer coached David Clarkson and the Kitchner Rangers to the 2003 Memorial Cup so I would imagine this is a happy day for David Clarkson. He’s also coached Mark Fraser and Travis Zajac at various points of their careers. I think that DeBoer is the type of coach that finds a happy medium of both offense and defense in his style, meaning we can’t categorize him as an offensive or defensive minded coach. Hiring DeBoers does make the Janssen signing last week an interesting one because with DeBoers here, I can’t believe that the Devils would look to move Clarkson, which is a rumor we’ve been hearing since Janssen signed. I’m guessing Janssen will probably find himself in Albany next season.
Deep inside I have to say I am a little surprised at the selection because we didn’t really see his name on the list until today. For me, the Devils appear to be in a “win now” mode and I am not sure that Peter DeBoer is a “win now” kind of coach but I could be wrong because I know so little of him. The bottom line for me is that I find it difficult to see what Jaques Lemaire accomplished last season and want anyone but Jaques Lemaire but I welcome Peter DeBoer to the NJ Devils and hope he is one great coach.
Debra’s Thoughts and Analysis:
When I first heard today that the Devils hired Peter DeBoer as their new head coach, naturally, my initial
reaction was: “Who?”.
I honestly have to say that I’ve never heard of the guy before and certainly not in conjunction with
any rumors regarding who was being considered for the job. And this fact alone was a definite plus
in my eyes. I have to admit that none of the names that had been bandied about in the press as the
next possible coach made me very excited. The vast majority of them (Ken Hitchcock, Michel Therrien
and Craig MacTavish, to name a few) all seemed a little too “veteran”, in my opinion. Now, I have
no problem with veteran coaches. After what Jacques Lemaire did for the Devils last season, I thank
god every day that there exists at least a few good men out there with the wisdom and experience to
literally undo and clean up the messes left behind by the John MacLeans of the world. But considering
the fact that Lou Lamoriello stated that he was (once again) looking for a long term coach and that
many of the recently successful coaches in the league have been of the younger/edgier variety, I had
hoped that the Devils would choose a younger coach. One who would presumably be more inclined to
think outside the box and implement a system designed to compete effectively within the confines of
the “new” rules established in the post-lockout NHL era … (an era during which the Devils have had very
little postseason success thus far).
Of course when a team hires a non-veteran head coach, the chances increase significantly that the
team is getting an inexperienced head coach (a la John MacLean from last season’s debacle). So, I was
pleased once more to learn that DeBoer had been the head coach of the Florida Panthers for the past
three seasons. As a matter of fact, his very first season coaching in the NHL, he coached the Panthers to
93 points – the second most points in franchise history. I know what most people are probably thinking
… this is the Panthers that we’re talking about. Who cares if he coached them to the second most points
in their history? He didn’t coach them into the playoffs. Exactly. This is the Panthers that we’re talking
about – a team with very little talent and not much support fan-wise or money-wise. DeBoer actually
did a pretty decent job with what he had to work with. If he does a decent enough job with the talents
of Ilya Kovalchuk, Zach Parise, Martin Brodeur and Patrik Elias, he may just be the answer to all of our
None of this matters at all, though, unless he can earn the respect of all of the players. As we are all too
familiar with from last season, you could have a plethora of talent, but if the coach can’t command the
locker room and communicate well, it could all go to waste. As was also demonstrated to us last year,
when one player is unhappy and plays poorly, the rest of the team can fall like dominos. It’s essential
for DeBoer to not only earn the respect of his players but to respect his players, as well. I really hope
that he can make and keep them happy because it doesn’t matter what we think of him. The only
opinions that matter are those of the guys on the ice.