Flyers

Flyers

Son of Fred is back in the game.

Ray Shero, who had been general manager of the Pittsburgh Penguins for nine seasons before his firing last year, was named GM of the New Jersey Devils on Monday afternoon.

“This is a great opportunity for me and my family,” said the 52-year-old Shero, whose father, Fred, coached the Flyers to their only two Stanley Cups. “I’m really looking forward to it.”

The man who made the decision to hire Ray Shero was Devils president Lou Lamoriello, who said it “was time” to step aside as GM.

The Devils missed the playoffs for the third consecutive season and Lamoriello was under pressure from ownership to institute major organizational change.

“I take responsibility for where we are right now, but right now it's a chance to go forward,” Lamoriello told reporters.

Lamoriello will turn 73 next fall and had been both president and GM (and even head coach, at times) with the Devils since 1987.

The Lamoriello era saw 21 playoff appearances in 27 years. From the late 1980s through 2003, the Devils were among the most dominant clubs in the Atlantic Division.

Lamoriello's clubs won three Stanley Cups, five Eastern Conference titles and nine division titles, backed by arguably the greatest goalie of his generation, Marty Brodeur.

“Working with Lamoriello — a Hockey Hall of Famer, one of the most respected GMs in history of the game — wasn’t something I was going to turn down,” Shero told reporters during a news conference.

Shero was GM of the Penguins from 2006-14. His team often dominated the Eastern Conference during the regular season but won just one Stanley Cup (2009) with Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang and Marc-Andre Fleury.

Most hockey observers would argue that having those four players alone should have seen the Penguins win multiple Cups.

Shero’s philosophy was “win now” — same as the Flyers’ under Bob Clarke and Paul Holmgren — and he often traded away valuable draft assets to assure a playoff run, even though the Pens were eliminated three times over the past five years in the first round of the playoffs.

Shero will have full authority on hiring a new coach and it’s quite possible he will tap Dan Bylsma, his former head coach when the two were in Pittsburgh.

Bylsma was fired by Pens management last spring along with Shero.

Lamoriello didn’t deny Devils ownership wanted younger bloodlines in management.

“The day I was brought in with the new owners, this type of a plan was talked about,” Lamoriello said. “Certainly, my age isn’t hidden.”

Shero becomes the Devils’ fourth GM in club history.

He had two years left on his Penguins’ contract which will automatically come off the Penguins’ books.

From the Flyers' perspective, general manager Ron Hextall now knows he has a very aggressive GM — especially at the trade deadline — even closer to him up the Jersey Turnpike, than when Shero was in Pittsburgh.