Gerard Gallant, the former head coach of the Vegas Golden Knights, is the first high-profile name to be interviewed for the New Jersey Devils coaching position.
Though the NHL remains in a state of pause, the New Jersey Devils are not resting on their laurels for the 2020-21 season and beyond. On Tuesday, TSN insider Pierre LeBrun reported on Insider Trading that the Devils have interviewed former Vegas Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant for the team’s head coaching position.
This makes the Devils the only reported NHL team to reach out to interview head coaching prospects during this pause. Other teams such as the San Jose Sharks, Minnesota Wild, Calgary Flames and Dallas Stars have interim head coaches in place currently.
According to LeBrun, the Devils interviewed Gallant last week virtually, as he is just one of a handful of candidates New Jersey is looking at:
"Gerard Gallant, according to our sources, interviewed last week by virtual manner — of course, not face to face — by Tom Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald himself also has an interim tag, he’s still the interim GM for the Devils. Alain Nasreddine is the interim head coach, and he is a legit candidate as well. He’ll be part of this process, but Fitzgerald has spoken to a few candidates — not just Gallant — over the last little while."
Gallant was fired by the Golden Knights in mid-January after two and a half seasons of work with the NHL’s recent expansion team. Vegas replaced Gallant with former Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer, but at the time of the firing the Golden Knights were just three points out of first place in the Pacific Division.
Though the Golden Knights’ record of 24-19-6 at the time of Gallant’s firing was a slight disappointment, the team was well within striking distance at the top of the Pacific Division. Since DeBoer has taken over, Vegas had gone 15-5-2 and sat atop of the Pacific by three points before the season pause.
Gallant is also a heavy favorite to be the head coach of the upcoming 32nd team in Seattle, which will take the ice in the 2021-22 season. In his 541 games of NHL head coaching experience, Gallant has a 270-216-4-51 record, famously coaching the Golden Knights to a Stanley Cup Final appearance in their first season as a franchise.
The idea that the Devils are already reaching out to prospective head coaches makes sense, as if the season does resume at some point this summer, New Jersey is well out of a playoff race and is looking beyond the 2019-20 season. Given the breadth of head coaching talent out there on the market — which includes Peter Laviolette, Mike Babcock and Bruce Boudreau, among others — the Devils will likely continue to look for the best man for the job as we wait out the season pause for the foreseeable future.
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