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Rangers assistant Lindy Ruff to be named next head coach of Devils, report says

Rangers assistant coach Lindy Ruff looks on during

Rangers assistant coach Lindy Ruff looks on during the first period against the New Jersey Devils at Madison Square Garden on Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017. Credit: Jim McIsaac

According to a tweet Wednesday evening from NHL Network’s Kevin Weekes, Rangers assistant Lindy Ruff is to be named the new coach of the Devils.

In the same tweet, Weekes also reported that Devils interim general manager Tom Fitzgerald will be made the permanent GM.

Ruff, who has been an assistant with the Rangers since 2017, had been identified as a candidate for the Devils job two weeks ago, when Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman said the former Buffalo Sabres and Dallas Stars coach had joined a group that included current interim coach Alain Nasreddine, former Islanders coach Peter Laviolette, and Gerard Gallant and John Stevens being considered for the job.

Neither the Rangers nor the Devils commented on the report.

Ruff, 60, had been hired by the Rangers in the summer of 2017, after being let go by Dallas following four seasons coaching there. The Rangers brought him aboard to run the defense for then-coach Alain Vigneault, and when Vigneault was fired at the end of the season, Ruff was a candidate to replace him. The job went to David Quinn, instead, but Ruff was retained on staff, along with goaltender coach Benoit Allaire.

A defenseman for 12 seasons in the NHL — including parts of three seasons with the Rangers — Ruff began his NHL coaching career in 1997, taking over the Buffalo Sabres, whom he coached for 15 seasons, before he was fired 17 games into the 2012-13 season. He earned NHL Coach of the Year honors with the Sabres in 2005-06.

Ruff has coached 1,493 games in the NHL, with a record of 736-554-78. He has 10 playoff appearances in his career, and guided the Sabres to the 1999 Stanley Cup Final in his second season there. Buffalo lost in the final to Dallas.

The Devils fired coach John Hynes in early December with the team in last place in the Metropolitan Division and elevated assistant Nasreddine to the interim job. In January, they fired GM Ray Shero and elevated Fitzgerald, then an assistant GM, to the interim position. The Devils were 28-29-12 when play was halted March 12 because of the coronavirus. They are not among the 24 teams who will be returning to play when the NHL restarts its season August 1.

New York Sports