Pete DeBoer will be the head coach of the Devils in 2014-15, according to general manager and president Lou Lamoriello.
Lamoriello met with reporters during the first intermission of Sunday’s regular season finale against the Bruins, and emphatically ended speculation about DeBoer’s future as coach.
DeBoer has been the coach of the Devils since the 2011-12 season.
“Rumors have gone [out], a lot of misinformation about our coach, so I thought I would get really out of character and put this to rest: Pete DeBoer is under contract for next year, has been under contract for next year and will be coaching next year,” Lamoriello said. “That’s all I have to say. I won’t be getting into any other discussions. We usually wait to make any other announcements about anything when it’s not necessary, but wherever the information is coming from I can’t answer but I thought I’d put that to rest.”
DeBoer’s name has been linked to the Maple Leafs coaching job, which is believed to open this summer as part of new team president Brendan Shanahan’s reconstruction of a franchise that collapsed in the season’s second half and missed the playoffs. However, there was a report on Twitter Sunday morning from TSN reporter Darren Dreger that indicated DeBoer was close to signing an extension with the Devils.
When asked before the game if he expected to return, DeBoer essentially offered a no comment.
“When you’re a coach in this league, you come to work, you invest yourself fully in your job and your team, you do the absolute best job you can,” DeBoer said. “I’m comfortable that our staff did that, and other people make those decisions.”
Missing out on playoffs
Standing outside the Devils’ dressing room Sunday afternoon, DeBoer acknowledged missing the Stanley Cup playoffs is a disappointment for a franchise with multiple championships.
“Yeah, I really believe our team game is as good as anyone’s in the league,” DeBoer said before the season finale against the Bruins. “I believe that on a night-to-night basis. Obviously you have nights where you’re off a little bit here and there, [but] our commitment to our team game, our team game, is as good as anyone’s. There’s a few reasons we’re sitting here today and I said I’d rather wait until after the season to discuss, but I don’t think there’s any secrets. The shootout killed us, and when you look at the standings and stats, we’re only half a goal a night short of being a very good team in this league.”
The Devils entered the matinee having averaged 2.4 goals allowed per game, and 2.4 goals per game. Their lack of tangible offensive production was an oddity as the Devils are fifth in the league in five-on-five puck possession (53.7 percent) according to the analytical site ExtraSkater.com, and defensively opponents were limited to 25.6 shots per game.
“That’s something we preached since day one when we got here,” DeBoer said. “For me, the game’s not complicated. If you have the puck, if you’re out-chancing your opponent, if you got it more than they have it, if you’re putting more shots on net than they are, we should have success. It didn’t translate enough this year. We led the league in shots against a night, our shots for wasn’t where it needed to be. But our possession time was good, our specialty teams were good. The whole package didn’t translate and we have to fix the pieces that kept it from translating.”
Sunday’s game was the last for TV color analyst Glenn “Chico” Resch, who announced he would be retiring during the first intermission of Friday’s 3-2 shootout loss to the Islanders Friday night.
“Great man,” DeBoer said of Resch, who has been the Devils’ color analyst since 1996. “I got to know him when I got here three years ago. The word class, class act, is probably the best way I can describe him and my relationship that I’ve had with him.”
Follow NHL writer Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman.