NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork)- The New Jersey Devils announced Thursday that Lindy Ruff has been named the next head coach of the franchise. Ruff becomes the 19th head coach in the history of the organization.
“We are proud and excited to have Lindy Ruff join our organization as Head Coach. He is one of the most successful and respected coaches in the NHL, not only today, but in League history. His personality, experience, knowledge, work-ethic and focus will provide a calm presence in our locker room,” said Executive Vice President and General Manager Tom Fiztgerald in a statement. “He is the right coach at the right time for our organization. Lindy has a proven track record of getting the absolute best out of his players across the board- stars, role players and everyone in between. His teaching ability, and communication skills will be well-suited for our team, especially our young, developing players. Throughout his career, his teams have been greater than the sum of their parts. I look forward to working together with Lindy as the organization moves forward.”
The 60-year-old Ruff is one of the league’s most historically successful coaches, ranking third in wins among active coaches and sixth on the all-time list. He is fourth among active coaches in games coached (1,493 regular season games) and seventh all-time in that category.
Ruff spent the last three seasons as an assistant coach for the New York Rangers under Alain Vigneault and David Quinn. Prior to his time with the Rangers, Quinn spent four seasons as the head coach for the Dallas Stars from 2013-14 through 2016-17. Ruff ended the Stars playoff drought, leading the team to the postseason in his first season and then leading them to a 50 win year in 2015-16 and the top seed in the Western Conference. He is best known for his 14-year tenure in Buffalo, spanning from 1997-98 to 2012-13 in which he led the Sabres to four Eastern Conference Finals appearances and a Stanley Cup Final appearance (1999).
“I am excited to get back in the lead chair and guide the future of this team. This is a fantastic opportunity to lead a group of great young talent and strong leadership to the next level.” said Ruff in a statement. “Tom and I will sit down together and build a plan for the coaching staff and I will start to get to work on familiarizing myself with the players and staff. I look forward to bringing this core together, developing our players and putting us on a trajectory that can lead to sustained success in a timely manner. It’s an exciting time to be a part of the Devils’ organization, and I have the desire and fire to get us on the road towards the Stanley Cup Playoffs and beyond.”