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Devils sign active wins leader Ruff to extension

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Devils sign active wins leader Ruff to extension

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The New Jersey Devils have signed head coach Lindy Ruff to a multiyear contract extension after he led them to their first playoff series win since 2012, it was announced Wednesday.

Ruff, 63, had been signed through the 2023-24 season. Terms of the new deal were not disclosed.

“This young, exciting team has developed and thrived under Lindy’s stewardship since he joined the Devils’ organization,” Devils managing partner David Blitzer said in a statement. “Lindy is one of the winningest coaches in NHL history and his extension is well deserved. I’m looking forward to continued team success this upcoming season and beyond.”

Ruff ranks first in wins (834) among active coaches and is just 15 victories behind Ken Hitchcock (849) for fourth all time. He is one of only six NHL coaches with at least 800 career wins.

Ruff was hired by the Devils in 2020 to replace interim coach Alain Nasreddine, taking over a rebuilding team. He has a record of 98-98-24 in three seasons.

Under Ruff, the Devils play an up-tempo style that accentuates the speed of players such as star center Jack Hughes, who publicly backed Ruff during his first two seasons. The Devils were fifth offensively (3.52 goals per game) and eighth defensively (2.71) last season.

His status appeared a bit uncertain at the start of the 2022-23 season, as Devils fans chanted “Fire Lindy!” during two early-season losses, but the Devils found their footing and finished with 112 points in the standings — a 49-point improvement year over year.

By November, fans were chanting “Sorry, Lindy!” during home games.

“I accept the apology and maybe one day we can all sit down and have a beer and laugh about it,” Ruff said at the time.

The Devils would go on to eliminate the rival New York Rangers in seven games for their first playoff series win since 2012, in their first playoff appearance since 2018. They were eliminated in five games by the Carolina Hurricanes in the second round.

“I’m thrilled to commit here to this situation and couldn’t be prouder of the great progress that our group made last season,” Ruff said in a statement. “We have a special group in Jersey and there’s an opportunity to accomplish long-term success, make a lot of positive memories and give our fans a lot to cheer about — because our Devils’ fan base is one of the best in the League and they deserve to see a winner.”

The Devils open the season against the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+/Hulu).

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