The New Jersey Devils today named Lindy Ruff as the 19th head coach in team history. The announcement was made by Devils’ Executive Vice President/General Manager Tom Fitzgerald.
Executive Vice President/General Manager Tom Fitzgerald:
“We are proud and excited to have Lindy Ruff join our organization as Head Coach. He is one of the most successful and respected coaches in the NHL, not only today, but in League history. His personality, experience, knowledge, work-ethic and focus will provide a calm presence in our locker room. He is the right coach at the right time for our organization. Lindy has a proven track record of getting the absolute best out of his players across the board- stars, role players and everyone in between. His teaching ability, and communication skills will be well-suited for our team, especially our young, developing players. Throughout his career, his teams have been greater than the sum of their parts. I look forward to working together with Lindy as the organization moves forward.”
Head Coach Lindy Ruff:
“I am excited to get back in the lead chair and guide the future of this team. This is a fantastic opportunity to lead a group of great young talent and strong leadership to the next level.” said Ruff. “Tom and I will sit down together and build a plan for the coaching staff and I will start to get to work on familiarizing myself with the players and staff. I look forward to bringing this core together, developing our players and putting us on a trajectory that can lead to sustained success in a timely manner. It’s an exciting time to be a part of the Devils’ organization, and I have the desire and fire to get us on the road towards the Stanley Cup Playoffs and beyond.”
Ruff is one of the most successful coaches in NHL history, ranking third in wins among active coaches and sixth all-time. He is also fourth among active coaches in games coached and seventh all-time. In parts of 19 NHL seasons with the Buffalo Sabres (1997-98 to 2012-13) and Dallas Stars (2013-14 to 2016-17), Ruff has compiled a career coaching record of 736-554-78-125=1,422 points (.561 points percentage) in 1,493 career regular-season games.
He has posted nine 40-plus win seasons, including a career-high 53 wins in 2006-07. In 2006, he won the Jack Adams Award as the NHL’s top coach, and finished second in 2007 and third in 2016. In addition to an appearance in the 1999 Stanley Cup Final with Buffalo, he has posted a 66-54 record (.550 winning percentage) in 120 Stanley Cup Playoff contests.
He joins the Devils after spending the past three seasons as an Assistant Coach with the New York Rangers, working under Alain Vigneault (2017-18) and David Quinn (2018-19 & 2019-20). Ruff was responsible for working with the defensemen and over the past three years was integral in the development of young blueliners Tony DeAngelo, Adam Fox and Ryan Lindgren.
Prior to his time with the Rangers, Ruff was Head Coach of the Dallas Stars for four seasons from 2013-14 through 2016-17. He took a team that was experiencing its longest playoff drought in franchise history at five years and brought them to the playoffs in his first season. He guided the Stars to a 50-23-9 record in 2015-16, and a first-place finish in the Central Division and top seed in the Western Conference. The 50 wins were the third-most ever in Dallas Stars history and Ruff was selected as a finalist for the Jack Adams Award for the third time. During his four-year stint in Dallas, Ruff’s teams scored the second and fourth-most goals per season in team history and the Stars led the Western Conference/were second in the NHL in goals scored per game with 2.97 over that span. Young players who experienced success under Ruff include Tyler Seguin, John Klingberg and Jamie Benn.
Ruff started his head coaching career with the Buffalo Sabres in 1997-98, where he would have a long, illustrious stint. He spent 14-plus seasons in Buffalo, where he made the playoffs in eight of those years. He led the Sabres to four Eastern Conference Finals, including consecutive appearances in 2006 & 2007, and to the 1999 Stanley Cup Final. He is the franchise’s all-time leader among head coaches in several categories, including games coached (1,165) and wins (571). During the 2005-06 season, Ruff steered the Sabres to a 52-24-6 record and in 2006-07, to a single-season franchise record of 53 wins and the club’s first Presidents’ Trophy. Those two seasons rank as the top two in wins in Sabres’ history. He began his coaching career in 1993-94 as an assistant with the Florida Panthers where he coached current Devils General Manager Tom Fitzgerald. He spent four seasons in Florida, through 1996-97, and was behind the bench for the squad that went to the 1996 Stanley Cup Finals.
Ruff has extensive experience coaching for Team Canada both in head and assistant coaching roles. He served as Head Coach at the 2009 IIHF World Championship winning a silver medal and was also Head Coach in 2013. Ruff served as an Associate Coach for Team Canada at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, British Columbia and the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, earning Gold Medals.
A left-shot defenseman during his playing days, Ruff skated in 691 career NHL games over 12 seasons, from 1979-80 through 1990-91, with the Buffalo Sabres and New York Rangers. He posted 105 goals and 195 assists for 300 points and 1,264 penalty minutes. Ruff was selected by Buffalo in the second round, 32nd overall, of the 1979 NHL Entry Draft. He finished his professional career with one season each in Rochester (AHL) and San Diego (IHL).
Ruff, 60, is a native of Warburg, Alberta. Lindy and his wife, Gaye, have two sons, Brett and Brian, and two daughters, Eryn and Madeleine.