Playing mediocre hockey is not good enough anymore for Peter DeBoer and the New Jersey Devils. New Jersey fired DeBoer on Friday after 3 1/2 seasons with the franchise.
Unable to score consistently, advance the puck, play with fire, and take advantage of power plays -- it has been a sluggish first half for the Devils who stand at 12-17-7 (or if you count the OT loses as such, 12-24) on the season. A change was going to be made by the Devs, and holding the league's third worst record is too much for Lou Lamoriello to stomach.
While DeBoer took the Devils to a Stanley Cup Finals appearance three years ago as a number six seed in the East, it has been downhill since. The Devils are 66-65-35 since the 2012-13 season, having failed to make the playoffs the last two seasons. There is a very good chance this will be a third straight season out of the mix.
It is anyone's guess who the next head coach will be for the team, at least on an interim basis. Dave Barr, Tommy Albelin, Mike Folingo, and Chris Terreri comprise DeBoer's staff. One of them could likely see a promotion to the top spot, then again under Lamoriello, the Devils head coaching gig has been one of musical chairs. 13 different men have had the distinction of HC of the NJD since Lamoriello has been in the front office. Since Larry Robinson won the Devils second Stanley Cup back in 2000, the Devils have made 12 different coaching changes, sometimes bringing guys back like Jacques Lemaire, who coached the Devils at three different points (1993 - 1998, July of 2009- April 2010, and Dec. 2010 - April 2011), for another tour of duty.
Will Lamoriello go back into the long line of ex-Devils head coaches to find the next head coach? Will he coach the team himself? Will he promote an assistant? Or, will he go outside for a new face? We will have to wait and see.
While it is easy to blame the Head Coach, in DeBoer's defense he has been coaching an aging roster. The Devils have 15 players over the age of 30, six of them over the age of 35, including a 42-year old Jaromir Jagar. While Cory Schneider has done a solid job replacing legend Martin Broduer in front of the net, he hasn't been helped by an offense that has scored only 76 goals as a team this year (ranked 26th in the league), and whose leading scorer is Mike Cammalleri with 11 goals.
The next head coach of the Devils must find a way to get this offense moving, but the time has come for the Devils to trim some of the aging fat on this roster.