Ray Shero now has the distinct honour of being the fourth general manager in the history of the New Jersey Devils. Lou Lamoriello, who had served as general manager of the team since April of 1987, will remain on as president of hockey operations.
“I think we have to be realistic in life in different areas and be honest, and right now this is the perfect time and the perfect person with great experience [in Shero],” Lamoriello said. “Ray has been in a couple of different organizations and had a year off, had a chance to step back and figure what went wrong and what went right and how things could be different.”
Shero was most recently the general manager of the Pittsburgh Penguins. He held the post from 2006 to 2014. During his tenure, the Penguins headed to the Stanley Cup Final in consecutive seasons and eventually won the thing in 2009. In eight seasons in Pittsburgh, Shero went 373-193-56. He was canned on May 16 of 2014.
This has been written up as an “end of an era” for hockey in New Jersey, a sort of changing of the guard. In a lot of ways, that’s certainly true. The Devils will head in a different direction under Shero’s leadership and Lamoriello leaves behind an impressive and complicated shadow.
But that shadow won’t so easily fade. One doesn’t serve an organization for as long as Lamoriello did without some things remaining, no matter what. Lamoriello’s indelible influence could take years to fade entirely from the horizon and even then his presence will always be felt, at least for as long as he’s president of hockey operations. In other words, this is in no way just the Shero Show.
At the same time, this was Lamoriello’s decision. At least, in part. Lamoriello may not have wanted to step aside at this juncture, but the Shero choice was is call with “100 percent support of ownership.”
“Ray is well respected throughout the hockey industry and knows what it takes to win,” Lamoriello said. “His 22 seasons of NHL front office experience will be beneficial to the New Jersey Devils organization. I look forward to working alongside Ray.”
The rest of New Jersey’s managerial staff will remain intact, including the scouting department. The Devils will now begin the search for a new head coach, a decision that will ultimately fall to Shero. But make no mistake about it, Lamoriello’s fingerprints will still be all over this club for a while.
“I’m here; I’m not going anywhere,” Lamoriello said. “The focus is on getting back to where we should be and belong and what’s expected. We’ve had the support of ownership for the past couple of years, and they haven’t been good years. We’re going to work to get back there, so that’s what it’s about.”