Andrew Brunette, finalist for Jack Adams Award, joins New Jersey Devils as assistant, sources say

Andrew Brunette, a finalist for the Jack Adams Award as the NHL's top coach last season, agreed Wednesday to a three-year contract with the New Jersey Devils to be an assistant coach, sources told ESPN's Kevin Weekes.

Brunette started last season as an assistant in Florida and was given the interim head-coaching position after Joel Quenneville stepped down last fall. He led the Panthers to the No. 1 overall seed in the Stanley Cup playoffs before Florida was knocked out in Round 2 by the Tampa Bay Lightning.

A month later, Florida hired Paul Maurice to replace Brunette, and the veteran head coach in his introductory news conference said that he'd like to see Brunette stick around as an assistant with the Panthers.

Instead, Brunette will join coach Lindy Ruff's staff in New Jersey, a team that missed the postseason last year but has a young core group filled with several first-round draft choices, including Jack Hughes and Nico Hischier.

The Devils, after the season, dismissed assistant coaches Alain Nasreddine and Mark Recchi, and general manager Tom Fitzgerald later reiterated that Ruff would remain the head coach for next season.

The regular-season numbers Brunette's Panthers put up were impressive, even in an offensive-minded season around the league. Florida finished with 58 wins, 122 points and a plus-94 goal differential, easily clinching an Atlantic Division title. The Panthers defeated the Washington Capitals in six games in Round 1 before being swept by their in-state rivals in Round 2.

Brunette, 48, was a seventh-round pick of the Capitals in 1993, and he carved out a decent NHL career, playing for six teams before he retired in 2012. He finished with 268 goals and 733 points across 1,110 NHL games.