New Jersey Devils Named Scott Stevens & Matt Shaw as Assistant Coaches

Today, the New Jersey Devils addressed the two holes among their coaching staff this summer. Adam Oates left to become the head coach of the Washington Capitals. Larry Robinson moved on to San Jose to become an associate coach. As reported in this post by Tom Gulitti at Fire & Ice, the Devils have named Matt Shaw and Scott Stevens as their respective replacements. You know who the latter is, but you should be excited for the former as well.

Matt Shaw spent the last three seasons with San Jose, primarily running their power play - which is what he'll do here in New Jersey. The Sharks were very successful with the man advantage in those three seasons. Under those three seasons, the team finished fourth (09-10: 21.0%), second (10-11: 23.5%), and second (11-12: 21.1%) in power play success rate. As great as that is, what's more impressive was how the Sharks generated shots on net in 5-on-4 situations - which is available at Behind the Net. Before Shaw joined the staff, the Sharks were quite good. In 2008-09, the Sharks finished sixth in SF/60 in 5-on-4 situations with a rate of 57.3. This shouldn't be a surprise, the Sharks have had and continue to have very good forwards. When Shaw joined, the team jumped right to the top of the league in each season he ran the power play. In 2009-10, they led with 61.2 SF/60. In 2010-11, they led with an astounding 72.6 SF/60. In 2011-12, they led with 62.9 SF/60. Under Shaw, the already very good Sharks became a massive force on the power play. Even if they didn't score, they poured on the pressure. I don't expect the Devils power play to become the best in the league overnight. As good as the Devils players may be, the Sharks weren't lacking for talent. Still, I do expect Shaw to have the PP units generate more offense and hopefully be more consistent in entering the zone. I really, really, really like that he was acquired due to his work in San Jose. I'll even be more pleased if he can help the team on that half of special teams.

Stevens is immediately a favorite on the bench since, well, he's Scott Stevens. To many, he's the definition of the franchise. He's a huge reason why the Devils are respected as an organization. His defensive prowess on the ice was second to few and his hitting power was second to none. After acting as a special assignment coach over the past few seasons, Stevens is making the jump to a full time position. To the surprise of no one, he'll be running the defense. According to this post by Gulitti that focused on Stevens, the legendary defender said he felt he's a teacher. He'll have to be to be able to translate what he did on the ice to other players from the bench. That's a big issue for any coach though; so I don't really have any issue with this decision. Filling in Larry Robinson's shoes is an unenviable task, enough to a point where I really don't feel comfortable comparing any assistant to him. We will see whether or not Stevens can do a good job on his own merit with the defense.

In any case, with Stevens and Shaw named, the Devils coaching staff for the 2012-13 season appears to be set. I like the hires, how do you feel about them replacing Oates and Robinson? Are you happy the Devils named Stevens as a full time assistant to run the defense? What do you think of the Devils hiring Shaw? What do you expect from both coaches? Please leave your answers and other thoughts about the two new Devils assistant coaches in the comments. Thanks for reading.

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