It’s been a tough year for the New Jersey Devils with the team forced into making a coaching change just a few months into the season, replacing John Hynes with Alain Nasreddine.
As the team continues to search for their head coach of the future, they have reportedly been looking overseas. According to swisshockeynews.ch, the Devils made contact with Swedish coach Rikard Gronborg earlier this season. However, he remains under contract with ZSC Lions, his current team in Switzerland’s National League.
“New Jersey did it the right way and called us first and asked if they could talk with our head coach,” team manager Sven Leuenberger told Klaus Zaugg of Swiss publication Watson. “We allowed it, but we made it very clear that we weren’t releasing him from his contract.”
Gronborg has been the head coach of Sweden’s national team since 2016 and joined Zurich-based ZSC Lions before the start of the 2019-20 season. The Lions finished the regular season as the best team in the National League — posting a 31-13-6 record — before the playoffs were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 51-year-old is under contract with the Swiss team until the end of next season and will reportedly see out his contract. However, New Jersey is said to remain interested in the coach going forward.
In April, New Jersey also reportedly interviewed former Vegas Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant for the position.
After taking over on Dec. 3, Nasreddine led the Devils to a 19-16-8 record in his first season as an NHL head coach. The team sat in last place in the Metropolitan Division with 68 points in 69 games when the season was paused on March 12.
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