Stanley Cup champion Peter Laviolette is available and the New Jersey Devils could use a coach of his caliber, reuniting him with P.K. Subban.
While Jersey’s fanbase wants to plead its case, the Nashville Predators are a bigger disappointment than the New Jersey Devils are this season.
Believe it or not, but the Devils weren’t picked by anyone to advance to the Stanley Cup Final last season or for the 2019-20 campaign. The Music City was expected to potentially hoist its first Stanley Cup if not last year, then this June.
The Predators announced on Monday that the organization officially relieved Peter Laviolette of his head coaching duties, and it’s fair to say that he’s a front runner for teams looking to turn their fortunes moving forward and into next season.
That means the Devils are likely to consider hiring the 2006 Stanley Cup champion, which also reunites Laviolette with defenseman P.K. Subban.
For the record, Subban never recorded less than 30 points in a season under Laviolette. He’s on pace to accomplish that this year and for the first time in his NHL career when he dressed for a full season.
Fan-favorite Nico Hischier and his Devils are in a transition and it’s apparent they need an experienced coach and one who’s led numerous teams to the Stanley Cup Playoffs and has coached Hockey Hall of Famers.
Not a voice who’s never been a head coach in the NHL before, or has never won a playoff series. Rookie head coaches are a great feel-good story, and some achieve immediate success but that’s not the recipe New Jersey needs right now.
Did we mention that Laviolette displayed immediate success with all four prior teams engraved on his NHL resume behind the bench?
Since the dreadful 2005 NHL Lockout, the former New York Islanders head coach has led three different teams to a Stanley Cup Final appearance. Laviolette led the Carolina Hurricanes to their first-ever title in 2005-06; New Jersey remembers the beating it took from Laviolette’s Philadelphia Flyers during the 20009-10 Eastern Conference Quarter-Finals, who advanced to the Final in historic fashion; and most recently in 2016-17, the American-born coach led the Preds to their first-ever Cup Final.
Forget the fact that Nashville struggled this season under “Coach Lavi” and realize that New Jersey adding a coach of his caliber would instantly boost this team’s play in more areas than some coaches would in a handful of years.
Just think about the exposures this Cup winner has seen firsthand and the all-star players he’s communicated directly with over the years… Claude Giroux, Roman Josi, Eric Staal, Justin Williams, former Devil—the list goes on.
Would the Devils hire Laviolette at this point in the season?
They probably should, regardless of whether the team is “starting to click” under interim head coach Alain Nesreddine; but don’t be surprised if general manager Ray Shero waits and pulls the trigger on the notable bench boss once the season ends.
That’s if Laviolette is still on the coaching market.