Kukla's Korner

Abel to Yzerman

Derek Lalonde It Is

DETROIT – Detroit Red Wings executive vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman today announced that the team has named Derek Lalonde the 28th head coach in franchise history.

“I’m very pleased to announce Derek as our new head coach,” Yzerman said. “He has proven himself as an excellent coach at every level and has spent the last four seasons in the National Hockey League as part of a very successful program in Tampa Bay. We feel he is ready to take the next step in his career as the head coach of the Detroit Red Wings.”

Lalonde, 49, joins the organization after spending the last four seasons as an assistant coach with the Tampa Bay Lightning. During his tenure with the Lightning, Lalonde helped the team clinch four-straight postseason berths, highlighted by back-to-back Stanley Cup championships in 2019-20 and 2020-21. In Lalonde's inaugural campaign behind an NHL bench in 2018-19, the Lightning earned their first Presidents' Trophy after setting a franchise record with 128 points while tying the NHL's single-season record of 62 wins previously set by the 1995-96 Red Wings. In all, Tampa Bay compiled a 192-77-10 regular-season record and a 46-26 postseason mark with Lalonde on its coaching staff. He was named an assistant coach by the Lightning on July 12, 2018, when Yzerman served as the team's vice president and general manager. Lalonde was previously a coach at Tampa Bay's development camp in 2013.

"I'm thrilled to be named head coach of the Red Wings," said Lalonde. "I'd like to thank Chris Ilitch and the entire Ilitch family, as well as Steve Yzerman and the Red Wings management team for entrusting me with the opportunity to lead this historic franchise. I'm ready to get to work with our group. There's a very bright future ahead in Detroit."

Prior to his time with the Lightning, Lalonde worked for two seasons as head coach of the American Hockey League's Iowa Wild from 2016-18, posting a 69-58-17-8 record with the Minnesota Wild's primary affiliate. Lalonde became the first coach in franchise history to produce a winning season with a 36-31-7-2 mark during his first campaign in 2016-17, a 22-point upgrade over the previous year.

"On behalf of the entire organization, I'd like to welcome Derek, his wife, Melissa, and their three children - Alex, Luke, and Abby - into our Red Wings family," said Christopher Ilitch, Detroit Red Wings Governor, President and CEO. "Derek has an impressive resume, particularly the work he's done with young players and prospects throughout his career. We're excited to have him leading the charge behind the Red Wings bench. I'd also like to commend Steve and his staff for conducting a very thorough and detailed search process. We have the greatest fans in hockey, and they deserve a team that consistently competes for Stanley Cup championships. We'll continue to work diligently towards that goal under the leadership of Steve and Derek."

A native of Brasher Falls, N.Y., Lalonde spent two seasons in the Red Wings' organization as head coach of the ECHL's Toledo Walleye from 2014-16. Lalonde guided Toledo to a 97-35-7-5 record in that span, resulting in two consecutive Brabham Cup titles as the ECHL's regular-season champion. In his first season in 2014-15, Lalonde led the Walleye to a 50-15-5-2 mark and won the John Brophy Award as the ECHL's Coach of the Year after showing a 58-point improvement from the previous campaign, which remains the largest in league history.

Lalonde began his head coaching career with the United States Hockey League's Green Bay Gamblers, accumulating a record of 114-56-8-6 as head coach and general manager from 2011-14. He was named the USHL's Coach of the Year in 2011-12 after the Gamblers recorded a 47-9-2-2 mark and captured the organization's fourth Clark Cup title. On the international stage, Lalonde coached the United States to a gold medal at the 2013 World Junior A Challenge, and also won gold as an assistant coach at the 2012 tournament.

Before making his head coaching debut, Lalonde was an assistant coach at the University of Denver from 2006-11, helping the Pioneers to a 122-63-19 record and two Western Collegiate Hockey Association titles in 2008 and 2010, in addition to four consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances. He also served as an assistant coach at Ferris State University from 2002-06, in addition to working at the Division III level with Hamilton College from 2000-02 and Lebanon Valley College from 1998-00. Lalonde started his coaching career as a graduate assistant at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (formerly North Adams State College) from 1995-98, where he earned a M.A. in education administration.

A former goaltender in the Division III ranks with SUNY Cortland, Lalonde recorded a 3.93 goals-against average and 0.877 save percentage in 41 appearances for the Red Dragons from 1991-95.

 
 

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Comments

SYF's avatar

And there it is.

Congrats, Derek.

Posted by SYF from impossible and oddly communally possessive sluts on 06/30/22 at 06:18 PM ET

stonehands-78's avatar

onward!

L.G.R.W.

Posted by stonehands-78 from the beginning ... a WingsFan, on 06/30/22 at 06:22 PM ET

SYF's avatar

onward!

L.G.R.W.

Posted by stonehands-78 from the beginning ... a WingsFan, on 06/30/22 at 06:22 PM ET

Zackly, stoney!  It’s gonna be a treat to see who’s next after Tanguay to be the assistants and goaltender coach.

Posted by SYF from impossible and oddly communally possessive sluts on 06/30/22 at 06:24 PM ET

ilovehomers's avatar

Alright, lets see what ya got.

Posted by ilovehomers on 06/30/22 at 06:25 PM ET

Paul's avatar

I am posting from a car on I 75.  I will fix the post when I get home.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 06/30/22 at 06:27 PM ET

SYF's avatar

I am posting from a car on I 75.  I will fix the post when I get home.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 06/30/22 at 06:27 PM ET

The Boss being ambidextrous.  haha

Be safe, Boss.  Can’t wait to see more good news.

Posted by SYF from impossible and oddly communally possessive sluts on 06/30/22 at 06:28 PM ET

Avatar

One of those rare cases when SY decision cannot be called a surprise. Most of us expected it 2-3 weeks ago. Good luck to Derek!

Posted by VPalmer on 06/30/22 at 06:30 PM ET

Kate from PA now in SC-made in Detroit's avatar

Drop the puck! wink

Lets Go Red Wings!!!!!

Posted by Kate from PA now in SC-made in Detroit on 06/30/22 at 06:32 PM ET

ilovehomers's avatar

PS Yzerman is an elite class troll, 6pm on Thursday before a holiday weekend.

The presser will either be rushed tomorrow or on Thursday next week.

Elite.

Posted by ilovehomers on 06/30/22 at 06:37 PM ET

The Meal's avatar

Woo!  My pick all along. smile

Posted by The Meal from Firestone, CO on 06/30/22 at 06:45 PM ET

Primis's avatar

PS Yzerman is an elite class troll, 6pm on Thursday before a holiday weekend.

Posted by ilovehomers on 06/30/22 at 06:37 PM ET

At the same time basically that Kevin Durant has demanded a trade out of Brookyln, and that the B1G is apparently adding USC and UCLA, and may add more.

Buuuuuuuuuried.  Buried completely in the news cycle.

Posted by Primis on 06/30/22 at 06:46 PM ET

a_k_l's avatar

Yzerman’s retirement presser was on July 3rd, in the middle of a long-weekend. He does not care about news cycles grin

Good luck Derek.

Posted by a_k_l on 06/30/22 at 06:54 PM ET

Hippy Dave's avatar

That’s an impressive coaching record.

...aaand he can play emergency backup goalie to boot!

Posted by Hippy Dave from Somewhere West of Detroit on 06/30/22 at 06:59 PM ET

ilovehomers's avatar

Posted by Primis on 06/30/22 at 06:46 PM ET

Sports news today has been nucking futs, indeed!

Posted by ilovehomers on 06/30/22 at 07:03 PM ET

TreKronor's avatar

And with that, Blash will be joining his buddy Cooper as an assistant coach for the lightning

Posted by TreKronor on 06/30/22 at 07:08 PM ET

Alan's avatar

Welcome aboard, Lalonde!

Posted by Alan from Atlanta on 06/30/22 at 07:11 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

I wasn’t thrilled with the idea of Lalonde until I read the article on him the other day. It appears he has a lot more personality than you would guess at first glance. Lord knows he has to have more personality than Blashill.

But all bets are off the first time he talks about “process.”  LOL

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 06/30/22 at 07:45 PM ET

Paul's avatar

via the AP at Sportsnet,

Detroit has not earned a spot in the playoffs for six consecutive years after being in 25 straight post-seasons and winning the Stanley Cup four times. But Lalonde does have some players potentially capable of leading a turnaround.

Veterans Dylan Larkin, Tyler Bertuzzi and Jakub Vrana are proven players up front, and Lucas Raymond, who was also a standout rookie last season, is a promising forward joining them in the lineup.

Calder Trophy winner Moritz Seider is set to anchor the defence for years to come, filling a void that has not been addressed since Nicklas Lidstrom retired a decade ago.

Yzerman, a Hall of Fame player with the Red Wings, has a hand-picked coach for the first time with the once-proud franchise he’s leading.

After drafting and acquiring talent to turn Tampa Bay into a two-time champion and perennial contender, Yzerman has consistently said it will take time to make Detroit a winner again and has refused to put timelines on the rebuild.

Lalonde, as quickly as he can, will shoot to aim to address the Red Wings’ shortcomings next season with relative stability after Blashill coached in recent years with job uncertainty.

 

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 06/30/22 at 07:45 PM ET

Paul's avatar

from Kevin Allen of Detroit Hockey Now,

“(Lalonde) essentially had his hands in every aspect of the Xs and Os of what the Lightning team ran, including special teams with an emphasis on the PK,” said Erik Erlendsson of Lightning Insider. “He has excellent communication skills, whether it’s with how he deals with the players or how he deals with the media….

Lalonde has a reputation as a coach who can develop young players. The Lightning have had success plugging in a steady stream of prospects to replace salary cap casualties….

In a profile for the Athletic, writer Joe Smith portrayed Lalonde as Lalonde possesses an outgoing personality and self-deprecating humor that helped him connect to players. He often starts speeches with a joke. His fashion faux pas are legendary. Mismatched socks. Tie-shirt coordination that doesn’t work. Old man shoes. He often faces ribbing about his wardrobe.

Lalonde admits that he looks a bit like Uncle Fester on the old Addams Family televisions show.

The bottom line: Lalonde is well respected by players and management in Tampa Bay.

more

 

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 06/30/22 at 08:07 PM ET

Paul's avatar

Press conference at 11am tomorrow, I’ll have a link up tomorrow.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 06/30/22 at 08:33 PM ET

Avatar

cool smile

Posted by pnwwing on 06/30/22 at 08:58 PM ET

Avatar

I have a good feelin about this guy. Think he’ll to be able to connect right away with players and fans.

Posted by Call Me Frank on 06/30/22 at 09:22 PM ET

Royal Grand Exalted PooBah's avatar

Another piece in place on the journey to the Cup!

Posted by Royal Grand Exalted PooBah from the basement of the Alamo on 06/30/22 at 09:33 PM ET

Avatar

He sounds like a real deteoiter. Self depreciating blue collar type.  I think he’ll fit right in.  He’ll be the biggest help keeping the guys loose and ready to play it sounds like.

Posted by ThatGuy on 06/30/22 at 09:37 PM ET

bigfrog's avatar

One of those rare cases when SY decision cannot be called a surprise. Most of us expected it 2-3 weeks ago. Good luck to Derek!

True. No surprise. He should have more talent to work with, but most importantly shore up the defensive game. grin

Posted by bigfrog on 06/30/22 at 11:10 PM ET

Avatar

memo to coach Lalonde:

1st order of business: pull out the finals tape and show your new team what NHL championship work effort looks like.

Posted by rickytarr on 06/30/22 at 11:33 PM ET

TreKronor's avatar

Fun fact, Lalonde was an Assistant Coach at Ferris State, having started the year after Blash left Ferris (Blash was also an AC there).

Posted by TreKronor on 06/30/22 at 11:58 PM ET

d ca's avatar

Fun fact, Ferris sucks.

Posted by d ca on 07/01/22 at 12:19 AM ET

d ca's avatar

Another fun fact, Ferris still sucks.

Posted by d ca on 07/01/22 at 12:19 AM ET

d ca's avatar

Final fun fact, Ferris sucks forever.

I have worn 3 shirts that state these fun facts.

Posted by d ca on 07/01/22 at 12:21 AM ET

Rumbear's avatar

The slumbering giant awakens….

LGRW !!!!!

Posted by Rumbear from Top O the Hasek, sing along The YzerMan Can!...... on 07/01/22 at 12:35 AM ET

Avatar

Was hoping it was going to be Lalonde. 

seems like he has a sharp hockey mind.  Every interview I’ve seen of the guy has impressed me.

Happy to have a new guy in charge, one with no past baggage with our team/players… Will get to set a new tone from day 1 and can hold each and every player accountable.  All new systems…  hopefully nothing held over from the old Babcock/Blashill school of thought.

oh yeah, and the draft is coming up and SY has plenty of dry powder to make moves before the season.

excited for sure!

LGRW!!

Posted by Matt_in_MI on 07/01/22 at 08:35 AM ET

Primis's avatar

I’ll admit, part of me is happy that it’s not just a retread, and is someone new.  Other teams can have the retreads…

Posted by Primis on 07/01/22 at 03:29 PM ET

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About Abel to Yzerman

Welcome to Abel to Yzerman, a Red Wing blog since 1977.  No other site on the internet has better-researched, fact-laden and better prepared discussions than A2Y.  Re-phrase: we do little research, find facts and stats highly overrated and claim little to no preparation.  There are 19 readers of A2Y. No more, no less. All of them, except maybe one, are juvenile in nature.  Reminding them of that in the comment section will only encourage them to prove that. Your suggestions and critiques are welcome: wphoulihan@gmail.com

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