The New Jersey Devils today expanded its scouting department by naming Andre Savard and Claude Noel as professional scouts. They join Bob Hoffmeyer on the team’s pro scouting staff. The announcement was made by Devils’ Executive Vice President/General Manager Ray Shero.
Savard, 61, joins the Devils’ organization with more than 27 years of experience in coaching, scouting and management at the National Hockey League level. After a distinguished 12-year playing career, Savard retired following the 1984-85 season as a member of the Quebec Nordiques and joined their front office. Savard worked with the Nordiques for 10 seasons as an assistant coach, a head coach both in the AHL and NHL, a scout and the director of player development.
After 10 seasons in Quebec, Savard joined the Ottawa Senators in 1995, serving four seasons as the club’s head scout and one season as an assistant coach. During the four years in which Savard served as Ottawa’s head scout, the Senators drafted players such as Marian Hossa, Mike Fisher, Chris Kelly, Magnus Arvedsson, and Martin Havlat.
Savard also served as the General Manager of the Montreal Canadiens from November 20, 2000 through the end of the 2002-03 season. During his first full season as General Manager in 2001-02, the Canadiens reached the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time since 1997-98. In three seasons as the team’s General Manager, the Canadiens drafted players such as Mike Komisarek, Tomas Plekanec, Christopher Higgins and Jaroslav Halak. From 2003 to 2006, Savard remained with the Canadiens as the team’s assistant general manager under Bob Gainey.
Most recently, he spent eight seasons with the Pittsburgh Penguins, serving as assistant coach for almost three seasons under Head Coach Michel Therrien beginning with the 2006-07 season, where the team reached the playoffs for the first time since 2000-01. The 2007-08 season saw the Penguins reach the Stanley Cup Final before losing to Detroit in six games. From 2009-2014, Savard served the team as a pro scout.
Noel, 59, joins New Jersey after spending part of the 2014-15 season as head coach with the Vancouver Giants (WHL). He was the head coach of the Winnipeg Jets for three seasons (2011-12 to 2013-14), after being named to the position in June 2011. The prior season in 2010-11, Noel coached the Vancouver Canucks AHL team in Manitoba of the AHL, where they compiled a 43-30-7 record. He spent three seasons (2007-08 – 2009-10) as an assistant coach with the Columbus Blue Jackets, taking over as interim head coach for 24 games in 2009-10.
Noel served in the Nashville Predators’ organization as head coach of the AHL’s Milwaukee franchise (2003-04 – 2006-07). He led the Admirals to a 183-94-12-31 record (.639), three 100-point seasons and two West Division titles. During the 2003-04 season, Noel went 46-24-7-3=102pts (.638) behind the bench, as the organization captured its first-ever Calder Cup Championship. He was honored with the Louis A.R. Pieri Memorial Award as AHL Coach of the Year that season. During his successfully four-year term in Milwaukee, he helped the Predators develop NHL players such as Pekka Rinne, Dan Hamhuis, Alexander Radulov, Kevin Klein, Jordin Tootoo, Ryan Suter and Shea Weber. Noel made his head coaching debut in 1990-91 with Roanoke Valley (ECHL), and then served as head coach and director of hockey operations for Dayton (ECHL) from 1991-92 – 1992-93. In 1993, he joined the IHL’s Kalamazoo/Michigan franchise as assistant coach for two years and as head coach for another two seasons. From 1998-2002, he was an assistant coach with Milwaukee, and in 2002-03 was named ECHL Coach of the Year with Toledo. A forward, his 12-season professional playing career included time spent at the NAHL, AHL, IHL and International levels.