Ray Shero named New Jersey Devils’ fourth general manager

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Updated: May 4, 2015
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Lou Lamoriello is truly a master of all secrets and bombshells. Today, he and the New Jersey Devils named former Pittsburgh Penguins‘s Ray Shero as the team’s fourth general manager in franchise history, replacing Lamoriello.

Lamoriello will remain as team president and Shero will report to him. Lou was reportedly pushed by team owners Joshua Harris and David S. Blitzer to make this move, and everyone was 100 percent on board with the decision. The 2015-16 season will be Lamoriello’s 29th year in the Devils’ organization, but first as the non general manager, a position he has held since 1987.

Before being the Penguins’ general manager, Ray was the assistant general manager of the Nashville Predators and joined Pittsburgh during the 2006 offseason. His first draft pick was Jordan Staal at No. 2 overall. He is the son of former Philadelphia Flyers great general manager/coach Fred Shero.

Ray built the Penguins into a perennial  Stanley Cup contender each year and the team won the Cup in 2009. The biggest trade he made was dealing defenseman Ryan Whitney to the Anaheim Ducks for left wing Chris Kunitz.  That trade, along with the development of defenseman Alex Goligoski, pushed them over the top in 2009, as the team beat the Detroit Red Wings  in seven games in a rematch from the 2008 final, where the Wings beat the Penguins in six.

Also, he replaced head coach Michel Therrien with Dan Bylsma. The Wings stole star winger Marian Hossa from the Penguins in the summer of 2008 after beating them in the final, so Karma was certainly ironic that year. Ray acquired Hossa at the 2008 deadline from the former Atlanta Thrashers franchise.

However, since winning the Cup in 2009, things have gone downhill for Pittsburgh in the playoffs. In 2010, the team lost to the Montreal Canadiens in Round 2. With injuries to star forwards Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, the team lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning in seven games in Round 1 during the 2011 season and to the Flyers in 2012.

During the 2013 playoffs, the Penguins seemed to return to playing dominant hockey, but were overwhelmed and demolished by the powering and blitzing Boston Bruins in a four-game sweep. The high-potent offense only managed two goals in the series. Last year, the team blew a 3-1 series lead against the New York Rangers in Round 2 and it led to his firing and the dismissal of Bylsma as head coach.

The Devils had to ask Pittsburgh for permission to speak to Ray, and they will give up no compensation in the process. He also received heavy interest from the Bruins and the Toronto Maple Leafs for their vacant general manager job. Ray picked the Penguins in 2006 after also receiving interest from Boston, who then hired Peter Chiarelli, now the general manager of the Edmonton Oilers.

As mentioned above, Lamoriello ends his reign as general manager after 28 years with the Devils. It was time for a change, as the Devils, who won three Stanley Cups from 1995 to 2003, hasn’t won one since then. They did make it to the Finals in 2012, but lost to the Los Angeles Kings in six games and have not made the playoffs since.

They also sustained heavy free agent losses in Zach Parise and David Clarkson, along with the sudden retirement of Ilya Kovalchuk. They became one of the worst offensive teams in the league and Ray vowed to add more offense this summer.

Lamoriello acted swiftly with Ray and he gave him full autonomy and said the next head coach is his call. Could it mean a reunion with Bylsma? We shall see. He was also the general manager of Team USA for their Olympic tournament in Sochi in 2014, and received some criticism for passing on defenseman Andy Greene on the roster.

What does it mean for Martin Brodeur? Could it mean the former legendary Devils goaltender will join management of the organization? Again, we shall see. Brodeur is not expected to return to the St. Louis Blues in his management role, but gave no information on his future plans beyond this season. Lamoriello has said, Brodeur has an open door to return to work for the Devils when he feels the need to do so. But, today ushered in a new era for the Devils’ organization.

 

Photo Credit: (Justin K. Aller/Getty Image

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