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Report: New Leading Devils Coaching Candidate Emerges

Craig Berube takes a back seat to a new leading coching candidate for New Jersey.



New Jersey Devils

When General Manager Tom Fitzgerald said he wanted to take his time finding a head coach for the New Jersey Devils, he clearly meant what he said. The Devils GM has interviewed a long list of coaching candidates, and according to a new report, there’s a new leading candidate.

Until the Toronto Maple Leafs fired Sheldon Keefe, the job behind the Devils’ bench was seemingly pointed toward former Stanley Cup Champion Craig Berube.

Now that Toronto canned Keefe, Berube is all but Toronto-bound.

There was speculation that the Devils might scoop up Keefe who is cut from a similar cloth as Berube. However, Sportsnet insider Elliotte Friedman indicates the new leading coaching candidate for New Jersey is Jay Woodcroft.

“The New Jersey one, it was Berube, it was Woodcroft, I know (Todd) McLellan interviewed there, Keefe became a factor in the weekend. This morning, I heard they were leaning Woodcroft,” Friedman explained on the latest Jeff Marek Show.

“I did hear some pro-Woodcroft voices this morning. They thought he had a legitimate chance at it. We’ll see where they go.”

After Woodcroft led the Edmonton Oilers to an incredible 50-23-9 record, collecting 109 points last season, the Oilers quickly fired the 47-year-old in November after Edmonton started the season 3-9-1.

Woodcroft worked with a bevy of talent in Edmonton such as Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, and Zach Hyman. Therefore, he’s a top candidate to come to New Jersey to work with a similar load of talent in Jack Hughes, Jesper Bratt, and Timo Meier, among others.

The belief is that Woodcroft’s firing was a bit premature back in November. As a result, the Devils just might reap the benefit of Edmonton’s mistake.

“I think it’s bullshit that Jay Woodcroft was fired when he was,” Pierre LeBrun said on Got Yer Back podcast in November. “I think he should have been given more time. The underlying numbers suggested a team that was about to turn it around. I do not believe he lost the room. The guys were still playing hard for him. And I would have given Jay Woodcroft more time.”

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