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New Jersey Devils Coaching Decision Coming This Week?



New Jersey Devils
(AP Photo/Steven Senne)

The New Jersey Devils’ coaching search certainly has taken longer than fans would have liked. However, maybe it shouldn’t have come as a surprise. At exit interviews, General Manager Tom Fitzgerald explained he wanted to take his time with the process. That was a little over a month ago at this point. There were times leading up to this point when it was believed the decision was on the brink. However, as other vacancies opened up, things changed and the Devils still have yet to name a head coach. However, one NHL insider believes that Fitzgerald could name a head coach this week.

The Devils had serious conversations with Craig Berube, however, he’s since been named the head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The candidates that we know remain Sheldon Keefe, Jay Woodcroft, and Todd McLellan, although it appears that a decision could come down to the first two names.

In the latest 32 Thoughts Podcast, Elliotte Friedman explained he believed the Devils were waiting on a decision from Keefe.

“I still think Sheldon Keefe was one guy they were still waiting for some kind of clarity on as we record this on Sunday,” Friedman explained to Jeff Marek.

Word is Keefe is unsure of whether or not he wants to jump right back into a coaching gig or not after he was fired by the Maple Leafs 11 days ago.

Although Friedman has made it clear he is unsure of the timeline regarding when Fitzgerald will name the Devils’ head coach, another insider explained on Sunday he believes the New Jersey’s GM would like to make his decision this week.

“According to sources [Sunday morning], as we record the pod, three to four candidates are still in the mix,” Darren Dreger explained to Ray Ferraro on the latest Ray & Dregs Podcast.

“Sheldon Keefe is still contemplating if he’s ready to return. I wouldn’t anoint him as the front runner in this process.”

Dreger went on to explain that Woodcroft had a great interview and appears bullish on the possibility he’s the next Devils’ head coach. of course, that’s contingent on what Keefe’s decision is moving forward.

Dregar also makes note of how big a fan of McLellan he is as a candidate in this process.

“We’ll analyze when the hire is made,” Dreger concluded. “But, I would expect by midweek or so they’ll have a coach in New Jersey.”

We’ve heard that before. 13 days ago, fellow insider Pierre LeBrun reported the Devils wanted to name their head coach in 7-10 days. However, as events transpired throughout the NHL, the Devils’ desired timeline was seemingly altered.

Perhaps after Rod Brind’Amour’s extension, Fitzgerald will increase his urgency to name his next head coach.

The clock is ticking, we’ll see if Dreger’s new proposed timeline comes to fruition.

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