Rangers may soon be looking for a new assistant coach.
Lindy Ruff is expected to be named the next head coach of the Devils, ending his three-year term as assistant coach of the Rangers, according to NHL network analyst Kevin Weekes. The NHL network also reported that the Devils should also remove the general manager’s tentative tag from Tom Fitzgerald, making him full-time GM.
The Rangers declined The Post’s request for comment.
Ruff, who has been Ranger’s assistant since 2017, was nominated for the job two weeks ago. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported that Ruff was taken into consideration together with interim coach Alain Nasreddine, former Islanders coach Peter Laviolette, former Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant and former Kings coach John Stevens.
As for Ruff, it would be the third 60-year stint as head coach of the NHL after gigs with Sabers and Stars. He was the head coach of the Sabers – the team that enlisted him in 1979 – from 1997-2013 before becoming head of the bench in Dallas for four seasons.
Ruff led Buffalo to the Stanley Cup finals during the 1998-99 season before losing outright against the stars. He had a record 571-432-78-84 with the Sabers and made eight appearances in the playoffs, earning the Trainer of the Year award for the 2005-06 season. In Dallas, Ruff went 165-122-41 with two playoff seasons.
When the Rangers hired Ruff under the then head coach Alain Vigneault, he began working mainly with defense and the unity of rigor. After Vigneault was fired at the end of that season, Ruff was considered to replace him.
David Quinn was eventually selected as head coach, but Ruff was retained, along with goalkeeper coach Benoit Allaire.
Ruff, a 12-season defender in the NHL, also starred in three seasons with the Rangers. It is not known if Ruff will be behind the Rangers’ bench in Toronto when NHL is due to restart on August 1.
The Devils fired John Hynes in early December after opening the season with a 9-13-4 record, promoting assistant Nasreddine to the temporary position. A month later, the organization fired GM Ray Shero and elevated Fitzgerald, then an assistant GM.
When the season was suspended in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, the devils were 28-29-12. They will not be among the 24 teams participating in the return to NHL tournament.