The Devils' turbulent season continued Sunday as they announced they've mutually parted ways with general manager Ray Shero.
The move, effective immediately, comes as the Devils enter Sunday night's game against Tampa Bay with a 16-21-7 record. Their 39 points are tied for the second fewest in the NHL. Tom Fitzgerald, who had been the assistant GM under Shero, will serve as interim general manager.
"Ray is a talented hockey executive and I am confident he will have great success in the future," Devils owner Josh Harris said in a statement. "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."
"Our organization remains deeply committed to creating a sustainably winning franchise. Our fans deserve nothing but the best hockey. We thank them for their continued support as we work toward our goals."
At a news conference just before the Devils' game Sunday at the Prudential Center, Harris added: "It's never a good time to do this but once you make the decision, you have to act on them. We thought this was the right thing to do for the franchise."
Harris also said Devils goaltending great Martin Brodeur will advise Fitzgerald.
Shero was hired by the Devils in May 2015. He had previously spent eight seasons as the GM of the Pittsburgh Penguins, a tenure that included a Stanley Cup championship in 2009. Shero, however, did not have the same sort of success in New Jersey, despite acquiring winger Taylor Hall in a blockbuster 2016 trade with Edmonton and twice landing the top picks in the draft lottery, which he used on centers Nico Hischier and Jack Hughes.
The Devils, under Shero, appeared to be on track in the 2017-18 season, when they went 44-29-9 (97 points) and reached the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. But they followed that with a last-place finish in the Metropolitan Division and then got off to a dreadful start this season, losing their first six games and nine of their first 11.
Despite the Devils' disappointing 2018-19 season, Shero was signed to a multiyear contract extension last April.
Last month, the team fired coach John Hynes and traded Hall, an impending free agent, to the Arizona Coyotes. Hynes was hired last week as the Nashville Predators' head coach.