Peter DeBoer (left) is no stranger to Devils GM Lou Lamoriello, who has seen the coach’s ability to work with young players and get the most out of even a depleted roster. (Ray Stubblebine/Reuters photos)
By Stu Hackel
Last week, we examined the state of the Devils and rounded up the usual suspects for the team’s next coach, listing the candidates whose names we’d seen circulated over the last three months as potential hires by GM Lou Lamoriello: Larry Robinson, Scott Stevens, Adam Oates, Mike Keenan, Ken Hitchcock, Guy Carbonneau, Michel Therrien, Craig MacTavish, Craig Ramsay, Mike Haviland, Kirk Muller, Marc Crawford, Bob Hartley, Mike Eaves and the ever-popular Jacques Lemaire. “Most of them have denied that they’re in the running or they discouraged speculation in some way,” we wrote, “leaving the impression that none will be Lou’s guy.” And we added, “One supposes that Lou is taking his time to get this one right….His choices almost always surprise.”
So we shouldn’t be surprised today, but we are, that a) none of the above were Lamoriello’s choice and b) he perhaps did get it right. Peter DeBoer wasn’t on the list and now — duh! — he seems in retrospect to be the most logical guy for the job. In fact, of all the new coaching hires in the NHL this offseason, it’s quite possible that the Devils made the best choice of all.