The 2021 NHL season kicks off in about three weeks. The New Jersey Devils are going to have a bit of a different look this season. The team traded for Andreas Johnsson and Ryan Murray, and top prospects have a shot at making the club. New Jersey also hired a new head coach in Lindy Ruff and kept GM Tom Fitzgerald.
Many Devils fans did not like the hiring of Ruff once it was announced. Fans wanted New Jersey to hire Gerard Gallant or Peter Laviolette. But Ruff brings a lot to the table. He is an experienced coach who knows how to win games. He reached the Stanley Cup Finals once with Buffalo, and he is known to coach a fast style of play. But how do his skills benefit the Devils?
Lindy Ruff has a ton of coaching experience, which could come to benefit the Devils. Ruff has 736 career victories which is the sixth-most in NHL history. He also has won 66 playoff games and he reached the Stanley Cup Finals once in 1999 with Buffalo. He is known for putting his players in the best spot to succeed and communicates with the players. Ruff has been around the league for a while so it could be beneficial for New Jersey to have a young core being coached by an experienced coach who is known for developing young talent successfully. When he was in Dallas, he helped develop players like Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn, who have now become superstars in the NHL.
This could be a good sign for Devils fans. Ruff was able to develop Seguin and Benn and he took them to the next level, becoming superstars. He also developed players like Jason Pominville and Thomas Vanek in Buffalo. The Devils have a very young core with players such as Nico Hischier, Jack Hughes, and Jesper Bratt. New Jersey also has a load of talented prospects in Kevin Bahl, Nikita Okhotyuk, Reilly Walsh, Nolan Foote, and the list goes on. If Ruff can develop the Devils core into one that is dominant, the Devils would be a scary sight in years to come.
As I previously said, Lindy Ruff is good at developing players. The style of play he coaches would highly help the Devils young core in developing and in taking the next step to becoming dominant players. Ruff likes to coach a very fast and aggressive style of hockey. This is exactly what the Devils need. New Jersey is a very fast hockey team, especially Hughes, Hischier, and Bratt.
A faster style of play would benefit the Devils a lot. They would be able to play at their speed and allow it to dictate the pace of the game itself. Some teams in the NHL are known for being “high flying”. New Jersey can easily become one of those teams, through the right coaching. Speed and handling the puck is a major strength that the Devils possess, and if Lindy Ruff allows them to play with speed and aggressiveness, this team would be a lot of fun to watch instead of the boring John Hynes hockey us fans had to witness. The Devils would be a bit more of an annoyance to opposing teams as well, which would be fun. The fast and aggressive play would turn the Devils roster and especially Hughes, Hischier, Bratt into offensive threats each night through utilizing their full potential.
I personally think the Lindy Ruff hire is great for the Devils, and it is going to show in 2021. Ruff brings a lot of experience to the table and is known for playing a fast-paced style of hockey. This style of play would take the Devils young core to the next level while allowing them to reach their full potential and utilizing their strengths. The Devils are not going to be a top contender for the next few seasons, but a coach such as Ruff could bring a winning culture to the organization. If he develops the Devils core and prospects as he did with Dallas and Buffalo, the Devils will be a dominant and nightmarish team in the Eastern Conference for years to come.