Ray Shero is out as general manager of the New Jersey Devils. The team effectively fired the veteran general manager on Sunday afternoon, though the official language of the Devils’ release says that the two sides “agreed to part ways.” Replacing Shero will be assistant general manager Tom Fitzgerald, who will step into the general manager role on an interim basis.

The move is a bit surprising considering the midseason timing, but it comes during a disastrous campaign in New Jersey. The Devils came into this season with raised expectations after investing in several key pieces over the summer in order to expedite their rebuild, including P.K. Subban, Nikita Gusev and Wayne Simmonds. They also landed top overall pick Jack Hughes in last June’s draft. 

But things haven’t clicked in New Jersey this season and the Devils have been near the bottom of the league standings since the beginning of the year. They’ve continuously found frustrating ways to lose games and play themselves out of legitimacy, and nobody has seemed to be able to stop the bleeding, Shero included. 

From the Devils’ release:

“Ray is a talented hockey executive and I am confident he will have great success in the future,
 said Devils chairman, Josh Harris. “However, Ray and I are in agreement that the Devils need to move in a new direction and that this change is in the best interest of the team.
 
“In the coming weeks and months, we will be launching a formal search for a new General Manager.
 
“We are very optimistic about our future and have a lot of talent, both on and off the ice.”

New Jersey is 16-21-7 through 44 games, last in the Metropolitan division and tied for the second-lowest point total (39) in the league. 

Shero is a veteran general manager who is respected by many across the league. He was GM of the Penguins from 2006-2014 before being fired and going to New Jersey, where he replaced Lou Lamoriello in 2015.

Fitzgerald, who many believe was heading toward a general manager job soon, has worked under Shero dating back to his time in Pittsburgh. Now, he’ll take over the mess that has been left behind by his former mentor and will attempt to course-correct, perhaps enough to shed the interim label in New Jersey.

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