Fantasy Take: Lindy Ruff hired by New Jersey
It was announced late Wednesday night that the New Jersey Devils had hired former Dallas and Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff to be their new bench boss. It was first reported by Kevin Weekes of the NHL Network and later confirmed by, well, everybody.
The Devils had interviewed other candidates, but they ended up with the former Jack Adams winner. So, what can we expect?
Well, not a very good defensive coach. It's possible it's just a run of bad luck, but the 2014-17 Dallas Stars were bottom-10 in the league by almost every conceivable defensive metric. And they were a playoff-calibre team.
After being let go by Dallas, he was hired by the Rangers to run their blue line. In the three years since his hiring, the Rangers are also bottom-10 by almost every conceivable defensive metric. In aggregate, he dealt with worse rosters than in Dallas, but the result was the same regardless of the quality of the team: bad defence.
This could change in New Jersey, obviously. They have a lot of smart people in the front office and if they at least heed some of the advice of these people, they can probably help Ruff keep this team from being a defensive embarrassment. It really depends on how they can all work together.
Of course, none of this may happen. Maybe Ruff doesn't listen to the analysts and coaches as he always has. If that's the case, MacKenzie Blackwood is going to be shelled next year (whenever next year is).
We also don't know what kind of roster Ruff will be working with. The team hasn't played for four months and probably won't play for at least another five. We still have the playoffs, draft, free agency, and whatever else happens between now and the start of the 2020-21 season.
I understand the hesitation from Devils fans upon hearing of the hiring. At best, this doesn't change things for Blackwood, but at worst, it could decimate his fantasy value. The Devils just don't have the same level of scoring as the Stars of five years ago to overcome having to score four goals every night to win.
Like I said, maybe Ruff will take the counselling from the analysts in the team and they can all work together to get the team moving forward. Or maybe this all falls apart and Ruff is gone in 1 ½ seasons. In all, this is probably a bad hiring, fantasy-wise, for everyone in the organization. Good luck.
No data at this moment.