You could see the writing on the wall when it was announced a few weeks ago that Ray Shero was taking the GM position of the New Jersey Devils.
Or, maybe you could see the writing on the wall when he wasn’t named head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins last season.
John Hynes is an NHL Head Coach.
It was announced at a press conference today in Newark, NJ that Hynes, late of Wilkes-Barre / Scranton of the AHL will become the seventeenth head coach in the history of the New Jersey Devils.
Hynes, at age 40, will also become the youngest head coach in the NHL, surpassing another former Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins head coach, Mike Yeo who is 42 years old.
They call Penn State University, “Linebacker U” for their reputation of cranking out great linebackers like Jack Ham, LaVar Arrington and Paul Posluszny. They may as well dub Coal Street, “NHL Head Coach U” for the names of ex-Penguin coaches who have managed the bench here in Wilkes-Barre. Michel Therrien (Montreal) Mike Yeo (Minnesota) Dan Bylsma (Buffalo) Todd Richards (Columbus) and now Hynes (New Jersey) – and you can also include Todd Reirden who is an assistant coach with the Washington Capitals and Joey Mullen who is an assistant with the Philadelphia Flyers.
Hynes leaves Wilkes-Barre in a better place than he found it, which is all you can ask for as a head coach of an AHL team. Hynes had a record of 231-126-17 in five years and is the Penguins’ all-time winningest coach. His teams led the AHL in defense for four out of his five years with six different goalies (Brad Thiessen, John Curry, Jeff Zatkoff, Jeff Deslauriers, Eric Hartzell, Matt Murray)
As for replacements, the search is on. You can start in house and start with the man that stood right next to Hynes, assistant coach Alain Nasreddine. You can call up Wheeling Nailers head coach Clark Donatelli. The options are going to be limitless because it’s going to be a hotly contested job, as it is probably one of the premier jobs in all of North American pro hockey. Say what you want about Calder Cups or lack thereof around here. There are five NHL head coaches now that served as a head coach here in Wilkes-Barre. No other AHL team comes close (Hershey, 2) – so Penguins fans worried that the 2015-16 edition of the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins will be a pushover needn’t worry.
The next head coach that comes in will be expected to eventually leave Wilkes-Barre in a better place than he found it.