Home > Coaching Changes > Devils Appoint New Coaches In Albany and Trenton

Devils Appoint New Coaches In Albany and Trenton

The New Jersey Devils will have two new head coaches running their AHL and ECHL affiliates next season.

Rich Kowalsky will take the reigns as coach of the Albany Devils, while Kevin Dean will be behind the bench for the Trenton Devils next season.

Kowalsky, 38, served as head coach of the Trenton Devils for the past four seasons. Under his watch, the team went 138-112-10-18. The team’s best finish was in 2008-09, when they finished second in the North Division and lost in the divisional semifinals. Kowalsky is looking forward to the opportunity to move up and coach the AHL squad.

“I’ve been a head coach now for four years and I think it’s even more comforting knowing there’s a certain familiarity staying in the organization,” Kowalsky said. “There’s probably eight to 10 guys that have played in Lowell that spent significant time with me (in Trenton). I think there will be a half dozen players that will be in Albany next year. For me, it’s just the next step. Yeah, it’s a little different. You’ve got kids that you’re dealing with now all on NHL contracts and with one foot in the door from an NHL standpoint. It was unique situation in Trenton where there was really an emphasis put on development to try to get these kids to the next level for them, which is the American League. So, I think it’s just a natural step.”

Assisting Kowalsky in Albany will be Tommy Albelin, who is a former assistant with the Devils. Kowalsky believes Albelin’s experience will be a big boost to the AHL prospects.

“I thought this would be a good fit not only for me, but for Tommy,” Kowalsky said. “And I just think to be able to have an assistant coach with that much experience in the NHL as a defenseman, I think is great for the young defensemen and all the prospects. But I think it’s good for me as a young coach to be able to bounce things off him.”

General manager Lou Lamoriello realized the importance of getting Albelin experience as a team’s top assistant.

“This gives him an opportunity to make the next step where he’ll be the No. 1 assistant and to see whether this is the route he wants to take,” Lamoriello said. “It will be his first time running the bench, changing the (defense). He’s excited about it. He, in his opinion, wasn’t ready to be a head coach. Not that he was offered (the job), but we’ve had these discussions.”

Kevin Dean served as an assistant coach the past four seasons while the team was in Lowell. The head coaching job in Trenton will be his first professional coaching experience.

Dean, who worked with John MacLean last year in Lowell, where he learned how to hold players accountable. That experience, Dean believes, will help him tremendously with this coaching opportunity.

“I think I’ve always been a pretty good communicator, but one thing I learned last year working with John MacLean was accountability,” Dean said. “These guys need to be held accountable and they need to know when they do well and when they don’t do well. I think accountability is a huge part of it. I think they want to be held accountable, too.”

Vince Williams remains in Trenton to serve as the assistant to Dean.

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