On John Hynes' contract extension with the New Jersey Devils
Follow me on Twitter @ToddCordell
Thursday the New Jersey Devils announced the signing of John Hynes to a multi-year contract extension.
I have plenty of thoughts I didn't get to share at the time so I'm going to do that today. Let's get to it.
I am on board with the decision to give Hynes a new contract. I think he is a sharp guy and has done a good job of maximizing what he has to work with, which is not a lot. Ray Shero has generally garnered praise for the job he's done since taking over the Devils. Deservedly so, I think. In saying that, the bulk of his work has been getting the team out of cap hell, building up a prospect system, and putting the Devils in position to add when opportunities arise. That hasn't really happened yet, though. It's not like he has gone out and added a bunch of talent to make the Devils a perennial playoff team. On paper, they're average at best. There are some nice pieces, of course, but you don't look at the forwards, defense, or goaltenders and think 'wow, what a great group'. There isn't a ton there. I don't want Shero's head on a spike for that – it takes time to build a team properly – but I don't think it's fair people use (likely) one playoff appearance in four years as a slight to Hynes. He's never entered a season in charge of anything resembling a consensus playoff team. That he helped lead them to any post-season appearances thus far is an achievement.
You don't make changes for the hell of it. Continuity matters. Building from the ground up and sticking with the process matters. That's what Hynes has done as a coach and it's easy to see the progress. Though the Devils aren't sitting pretty in the standings right now, they have played better than the results suggest. If the numbers hold up in the 2nd half, this will be the third consecutive season the Devils have improved in terms of Corsi For% and Expected Goals For% under John Hynes.
Simply put, I don't see any reason to fire Hynes. Are the Devils underachieving? No, not really. A fringe playoff team is the ceiling as currently constructed. Do the players hate him? It sure doesn't seem like it. I think Hynes commands a lot of respect and the guys work hard for him. Is he ruining the development of young players? Nope. Is he over-playing depth guys in favor of far superior options? No. Dressing Mirco Mueller or Ben Lovejoy over Egor Yakovlev is about as controversial as it gets this season. Is that going to make a big difference in the grand scheme of things? Absolutely not. The results reflect the personnel and, quite honestly, Hynes is unlucky they're not a little better. I don't think firing Hynes and breaking the bank on Dave Tippett, for example, would move the Devils any further along.
It's easy to be concerned when things aren't going as well as you'd hope. I understand that. But I think extending Hynes was the right move.
Devils get what they deserve following pathetic start vs Stars
On Miles Wood and Mackenzie Blackwood
Pavel Zacha's offensive play leaves little room for optimism
Predicting the Metro Division standings in 2018-19