The New Jersey Devils hired John Hynes as their new head coach on Tuesday.
Hynes has served as head coach of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, the Pittsburgh Penguins’ AHL affiliate, since 2010. His overall record of 231-126-27 and five-straight playoff appearances makes him the winningest coach in the team’s history.
He was hired in 2009 by then-Penguins general manager Ray Shero as assistant coach and was quickly promoted. The Devils hired Shero at the beginning of May after Lou Lamoriello stepped aside, so it’s not a big surprise that he’s turning to a familiar face in Hynes. Lamoriello remains the team president.
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New Jersey (32-36-14) suffered its worst full season since 1988-89 — an especially long fall, considering they made it to the Stanley Cup Final in 2012. They fired Peter DeBoer in December and finished the season with Lamoriello, Adam Oates and Scott Stevens as co-coaches. DeBoer has since been hired by the San Jose Sharks.
Here’s what you need to know about John Hynes:
Birthplace: Warwick, R.I.
Playing career: Forward with Boston University (1993-1997); won 1995 NCAA national title with Terriers.
Head coaching jobs: AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (2010-2015); USA National Development team (2003-09)
Awards: AHL Coach of the Year (2010-11); 2010-11 AHL regular-season champions (first time in franchise history); finalist for U.S. Olympic Committee Development Coach of the Year (2007).
It’s also interesting to note that upon graduating from BU, Hynes served as a graduate assistant under longtime Terriers coaching legend Jack Parker, who spent 40 years with the club.
He wastes no time in winning
Hynes kicked off his successful AHL coaching career by leading the Penguins to 40-plus wins in his first four seasons with the club, earning 100 wins in the 2nd-fewest games in league history (152 games).
He’s got a reputation for cultivating young talent
Prior to joining the AHL’s Penguins, Hynes spent six years coaching the U.S. National Team Development Program and has seen plenty of talented young players come across his bench.
Here’s what Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane said of his time under Hynes on the team:
“I thought it was a huge part of my development and Coach (John) Hynes was awesome to me. He was very hard on me, but at the same time, he tried to get the best out of me.”
Hynes led the U.S. Under-18 Team to three IIHF Championship medals (gold in 2006, silver in 2004 and bronze in 2008).
He also has two years of experience on the bench for the World Junior Championship, serving as assistant coach in 2004 (bronze) and head coach in 2008 (4th).
Speaking of young talent, Hynes himself is considered an up-and-comer, and will be the youngest coach currently in the league.
He believes in the power of preparation
Process and preparation are two of the cornerstones of Hynes’ coaching perspective — especially when it comes to the playoffs. He said the following during a 2014 interview on usahockey.com:
“It really comes down to preparation. It’s the most fun time of the year. It’s the time of the year that’s the most rewarding. You go through all of your training camps. You go through all of your trials and tribulations. There’s something on the line. It’s really just trusting in that preparation. When you’re prepared for a difficult game, you’re more relaxed going into it because you’re prepared for it. You can go play and enjoy the competition. It’s more just making sure that we’re prepared for each situation. Then we want to go out there and compete and enjoy the process of competing.”
He’ll join a successful line of AHL Penguins to make it to the big leagues
Hynes was the ninth head coach in the history of the Baby Pens. Past AHL Penguins coaches who are now NHL bench bosses include Dan Bylsma, Todd Richards and Michel Therrien.