The puck is about to drop on Stanley Cup Playoffs and once again the New Jersey Devils are not a part of it. But there are plenty of former Devils and Devils’ employees who will be participating in the restart to the completion of the NHL’s paused season.
There are a lot of options for picking a team to root for or follow if you are a Devils fan, as there are former players, coaches, and staff scattered throughout the remaining 24 teams. Here’s a quick recap on who is participating and who you can support by throwing on that old shirsey or jersey again.
We went through the trouble of looking through all of the rosters (so you don’t have to) and came up with this little list for you to browse through. Who knows, maybe at the end of all of this some of them will end up with their name on the Stanley Cup.
Michael Grabner, Taylor Hall, Steve Sullivan (interim GM), John MacLean (assistant coach), Phil Housley (assistant coach), Corey Schwab (goaltending coach).
Obviously, the big name here is Grabner. Kidding. We all know it’s Hall. The Coyotes success in the play-in tournament is tied to a first-round pick. If the Coyotes are Team E and win the NHL Draft Lottery the Devils won’t receive Arizona’s first-rounder in the 2020 NHL Draft and will instead get their 2021 first-round selection.
John Moore, Jay Pandolfo (assistant coach), Kevin Dean (assistant coach), Jamie Langenbrunner (director of player development), Mike Dunham (goaltending development coach), Tom McVie (pro scout).
A few fan favorites to pull for with the Bruins, and a few former Devils that were a part of New Jersey’s three Stanley Cup championships.
Geoff Ward (interim head coach).
A name from the more recent era of Devils teams. Ward was an assistant for three years in New Jersey and is currently the interim coach for Calgary.
Sami Vatanen, Peter Harrold (skills development).
Another fan favorite here in Harrold…but more importantly like the Hall trade there are pending conditions involving Vatanen after he was dealt by the Devils at the trade deadline in late February. He needs to play in 70% of Carolina’s playoff games for New Jersey to get a 3rd round pick. If he does not the belief is that the Devils don’t receive a pick.
If there was no pause in the season it’s debatable that Vatanen would have ever suited up for the Canes. He never even had a full practice with the team. But here we are four months later and the defenseman will be playing in the play-in round against the New York Rangers.
John Quenneville, Sheldon Brookbank (assistant coach), Peter Sundstrom (European pro scout), Don Lever (pro scout).
Whether or not Quenneville plays is any Devils fan out there pulling for him after an abysmal tenure in the Garden State?
Craig Billington (assistant GM).
A name that is a blast from the past for those that remember playing NHLPA ’93 on their SEGA Genesis.
Columbus Blue Jackets
None. Tyler Seguin is always nice to look at (shrugs).
Brian Boyle, Joel Quenneville (head coach).
How can you not root for Boyle, who was an instant fan favorite during his brief tenure in New Jersey? Before he was Coach Q who won three Cups with the Blackhawks, Quenneville played for the Colorado Rockies and the inaugural Devils team after the franchise relocated.
Bill Guerin (GM), Zach Parise, Brad Bombardir (director of player development).
Two guys who won a Cup with the Devils and one that didn’t but maybe could have if he stayed in New Jersey.
Claude Julien (head coach), Kirk Muller (associate coach), Sean Burke (pro scout/goaltending consultant).
Julien, Muller, and Burke never won the Cup in New Jersey but have all had great careers since their tenure with the Devils ended.
John Hynes (head coach)
At the start of this past season, Hynes was behind the bench in New Jersey and Taylor Hall was on his bench. Now the two will be adversaries in the play-in round that kicks off on Aug. 2.
New York Islanders
Lou Lamoriello (GM), Chris Lamoriello (assistant GM), Jacques Lemaire (special assignment coach), Andy Greene.
Wouldn’t it be something to see Greene raise the Cup in what could be his last season as an NHL player? The former captain of the Devils will be a minutes-muncher for the Isles if they can advance past the Panthers in the play-in round.
New York Rangers
Tuomo Ruutu (assistant director of player development in Europe).
Let’s be honest – you likely weren’t going to root for the Rangers anyway if you’re reading this article.
Chuck Fletcher (president, GM)
Tom Kostopoulos (player development coach)
St. Louis Blues
Larry Robinson (hockey ops senior consultant, assistant coach).
Marc Savard and Mike Van Ryn are assistant coaches if you really want to grasp at straws. Neither played a single game for the Devils. Who wouldn’t want to see Robinson raise his nine thousandth Stanley Cup?
Tampa Bay Lightning
Coleman was a fan favorite with the Devils and is now on one of the favorites to win the Cup. He might be the missing ingredient that Tampa was lacking last season when they were unceremoniously swept by Columbus.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Brendan Shanahan (president/alternate governor), Scott Pellerin (senior director of player development).
Does anyone outside of Toronto really want to see the Leafs win their first Cup since 1967?
If you blinked you may have missed Domingue’s tenure with the Devils, but they do also have Jack Hughes’ big brother.
Vegas Golden Knights
Pete DeBoer (HC), Jon Merrill, George McPhee (president of hockey ops/alternate governor), Jim McKenzie (pro scout).
This is a smorgasbord of former Devils’ employees. DeBoer brought the franchise to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time nine years, can he bring Vegas back to the Final in his first year behind their bench?
Kovy and Ovi could be a deadly duo this postseason. Summer of Ovi Part 2? Especially if Kovalchuk plays as he did in the 2012 playoffs for the Devils. We know some of you out there are still big fans of his.
None. No one wants to root for the team that erased an 0-4 deficit to win 5-4 in a shootout on opening night at Prudential Center anyway.
Dan Rice is in his 9th year of reporting for THW & has covered NJ Devils home games for 15+ years at various websites. He began his journey working for legendary broadcaster/writer Stan Fischler from 2002-04 & completed an internship at the ECHL; he also has been writing features for the NWHL (nwhl.zone) website since 2016.