05/05/2015 01:26 EDT | Updated 05/05/2016 05:59 EDT

End of Lamoriello era, hiring of Shero as GM signals major change for Devils

For almost 30 years, Lou Lamoriello was the Frank Sinatra of NHL general managers. He did it his way.

The New Jersey Devils followed Lamoriello's way to the Stanley Cup in 1995, 2000 and 2003, with all the trappings of defensive, shut-it-down hockey. Off the ice, the organization has been the league's tightest-lipped.

That was no different leading up to the hiring of Ray Shero as GM on Monday, a move that signals the end of an era and a shift of philosophy in New Jersey. Lamoriello is still team president but this is Shero's club now.

Shero will hire the next coach, make personnel moves and change the Devils' direction.

"I would assume we would have some type of changes," Lamoriello said during a conference call Monday. "Ray might do things just a little different than maybe I do, and so be it. That's progression."

As hockey progresses more toward speed and away from the methodical structure that has been New Jersey's hallmark, Shero could be the man to push the Devils that way. Shero wants to keep the defensive discipline and add more offence.

It helps there's a foundation already in place, beginning with goaltender Cory Schneider, who started the third-most games in the league during the regular season and had a 2.26 goals-against average and .925 save percentage. The Devils scored the third-fewest goals overall 2.15 and that must change.

"To rely on the goaltending and defence, there's little room for error in that," Shero said. "Up front is certainly an area in terms of looking to score more goals, create more offence without abandoning a defensive structure and accountability that's been in place for years."

Shero didn't say how long that would take but reloading the forward ranks could be a long-term process.

No Devils player had more than 43 points and while leading scorer Adam Henrique is just 25 years old, there's a lack of young offence in the pipeline. New Jersey's top forward prospects are 2011 fourth-rounder Reid Boucher and 2012 first-rounder Stefan Matteau, and while they could be NHL mainstays neither is expected to be a game-breaker.

Part of creating more offence comes from the coach Shero will be in charge of hiring. Lamoriello spent the remainder of the season behind the bench with Scott Stevens and Adam Oates after firing Peter DeBoer, so any new coach will be a change.

Shero said the Devils can take their time in finding a coach. With plenty of options available even beyond the big names — think someone like Kirk Muller, Kevin Dineen — it's a good time to be looking.

After Lamoriello made those decisions for the past 28 years, the coaching search is a whole new ballgame. Everything with the Devils is, something Shero made clear when speaking with Lamoriello and owners Josh Harris and David Blitzer.

"I'm different than Lou," Shero said. "No one's like Lou and no one's like me.

"The things, my personality might be a little bit different, but the trend is still the same from the ownership to how Lou has set up that (and the organization) is committed to winning and becoming a playoff team again."

The Devils have missed the playoffs the past three years, something Lamoriello takes responsibility for.

"They have not been good years, I don't feel good about it, and it's just working to get back there," Lamoriello said. "The focus is getting back to where we should be and belong and what's expected."

The Pittsburgh Penguins made it all eight seasons Shero was in charge, but failing to win another championship after 2009 and some early playoff exits led to his firing last year. Building the Devils up is a new challenge for the 52-year-old.

"Certainly the goal is to build the team back to a playoff team and get there, and once we get there to stay there and hopefully compete for the Stanley Cup again," Shero said.


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