Lindy Ruff to return as Devils coach next season after leading team to first playoff berth since 2018
After starting the 2022-23 season on the hot seat, New Jersey Devils head coach Lindy Ruff will be back for the 2023-24 campaign, general manager Tom Fitzgerald confirmed. Ruff led the Devils to a second-place finish in the Metro Division and their first playoff berth since 2018.
During his year-end press conference on Wednesday, Fitzgerald was asked about Ruff’s future with the franchise. After an impressive season from the young Devils, Fitzgerald said Ruff will be “back behind the bench” next season.
“Four years or whenever it was, I was looking for the right coach for this organization for where we were and how do we get to where we want to go?” Fitzgerald said. I” watched the development of our players — our core players — and how they’ve grown. As we’ve went along here, I’ve always said Lindy Ruff is the right coach for this group.
“Here we are today. He’s still the right coach for this group. He’s earned that right. He deserves that. We deserve him, to be quite honest. He’s a great partner for me, and those kids love him. There’s no such thing as a perfect coach, but he’s got the utmost respect from our players and from us and from ownership. He’s still the right guy for this job.”
The Devils lost their first two games of the season, prompting “Fire Lindy” chants from the fans. However, New Jersey rattled off 14 straight wins after that and emerged as one of the best young teams in the NHL.
In the first round of the playoffs, the Devils defeated the New York Rangers in seven games. However, their resurgent season ended with a second-round loss to the Carolina Hurricanes.
Following his third season with the franchise, Ruff now owns an overall record of 98-98-24 as the head coach of the Devils. After a big step forward this past season, expectations will be even higher in 2023-24.