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Yzerman’s Coaching Search

from Eric Duhatschek of The Athletic,

But in saying very little, Yzerman also gave a glimpse into his thought process as he ponders his most critical offseason move. Does he go with a known commodity behind the bench, someone that’s fallen into his sphere of influence over the years? Or look beyond that. The value of doing it the first way, which is also the more traditional path, is that Yzerman would know the successful candidate on a deeper level and they would start out on the same page. That carries less risk and NHL GMs tend to be a risk-averse group.

But as Yzerman was musing aloud about the process, he conceded he might need to push himself to look beyond his circle and consider candidates from other corners of the hockey world – a difficult concept to wrap his head around....

A name that’s constantly being bandied about in NHL circles is Lane Lambert’s, who is currently with Barry Trotz and the Islanders. Lambert and Yzerman have a history that dates back to their playing days, so he would certainly fit the bill of someone that Yzerman’s familiar with.

The problem with casting his net further afield, as Yzerman nicely articulated, is how does he – as a prospective employer – genuinely evaluate the contributions of an assistant coach when teams deliberately go out of their way to make them so anonymous. It’s very difficult.

But Yzerman acknowledged that he’s at least thinking along those terms, by noting that his search might also include assistant coaches currently involved in the NHL playoffs....

 Of course, if Boudreau moves on, does that then make Paul Maurice the favorite to land in Vancouver, if the game of musical coaching chairs is set in motion?

Or does he fit in with what Yzerman is looking for in Detroit? Way back, Maurice coached the Detroit Jr. Red Wings (1993-94 and 1994-95) and got them to the 1995 Memorial Cup final. He played his junior hockey in nearby Windsor with the Spitfires. He was behind the Carolina bench in 2002 when the Yzerman-captained Red Wings defeated the Hurricanes in the Stanley Cup Final. At the age of 55, Maurice is seventh on the all-time NHL coaching wins list (775).

more ($$$), with other teams mentioned...

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d ca's avatar

When I originally thought about coaches I didn’t include Paul Maurice so I said that was a mistake.  But now looking on it a little more, I’m not so sure that wasn’t done subconsciously, as Maurice’s Winnipeg Jets massively underachieved during his time there.

Excuses have been made that is was because of the players—and aside from Dustin Byfuglien’s situation—I don’t see a lack of talent or guys that struggled to live up to their draft status: Morrissey (2013 R1 #13), Ehlers (2014 R1 #9), Scheifele (2011 R1 #7), Wheeler (2004 R1 #5), Kyle Connor (2015 R1 #17), Logan Stanley (2016 R1 #18), and Laine (2016 R1 #2) to go along with Hellebuyck.

What I see is a coach that couldn’t get it done….so pass on Paul Maurice unless his expected life is going to be 2 years in Detroit.

Posted by d ca on 05/06/22 at 04:20 PM ET


Maurice coached the Detroit Jr. Red Wings (1993-94 and 1994-95)

So, he was coaching at the age of 26? Wow

Posted by VPalmer on 05/06/22 at 05:11 PM ET

Chet's avatar

If they can get Boudreau it should be a no brainer. He’s the guy.

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 05/06/22 at 05:22 PM ET

Paul's avatar

Three years ago Joshe Cooper did a feature on Lane Lambert st The Athletic,

Lane Lambert is “firm.”

Lane Lambert is “stoic.”

Lane Lambert has “got the best flow” … which in hockey terms means a good chunk of long hair.

There’s a lot to like about the Islanders associate coach and longtime right-hand man to head coach Barry Trotz.

Lambert worked with the Milwaukee Admirals (the Nashville Predators’ AHL team) as an assistant coach in 2006-07 and then led the Ads as head coach from 2007-08 through 2010-11.

He was elevated to Predators assistant coach in 2011-12 and has followed Trotz ever since, first to the Washington Capitals and then to the Islanders.

This is the first summer in a while where Lambert could be a legit head-coaching candidate – since there are actual openings and he has championship cred to his resume, with the 2018 Stanley Cup. Will he get scooped up? That’s unclear at this time, but his current boss is hopeful someone will notice the work Lambert has done. Lambert was listed on The Athletic’s potential head coaching candidates for this offseason. Lambert also will indeed be interviewed, according to Sportsnet’s John Shannon. An NHL source confirmed to The Athletic that Lambert will interview for the job.

“All my assistants I’ve ever had, I want them all to be head coaches. I don’t want them not to be head coaches,” Trotz said. “Some of it is timing. Some of it is circumstance. Some of it is perception. In this business, to get a break you need someone to be in your corner and knowing someone. I think Lane has enough people in his corner who he’s worked with, who know him and his success as a head coach and his success as an assistant coach and now as an associate coach. There’s a reason we’ve had success together. He’s a big part of it, for sure.”

continued (paid)

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 05/06/22 at 05:44 PM ET

Steeb's avatar

Sounds like Lambert fits what description Stevie gave. He knows him, and Lambert has been under the tutelage of Trotz, who, if nothing else, is a “structure” guy. Trotz got Ovi to play a 200ft game, ffs. For me, Boudreau would be an admission that the rebuild is a ways from competing for playoffs. Which is probably true, but it would be an indication that Stevie thinks that, too.
I’m still kinda hedging toward one of the Swedish guys, tho. He has very smart people all over the place over there.

Posted by Steeb on 05/06/22 at 10:54 PM ET


I sincerely hope it’s not a recycled guy.  Some of the names being bandied about?  Tocchet?  Seriously hope that isn’t true. He’s been brutal most places he’s gone since he left the Pens.  Even Boudreau..yuck. 

If you look at most of the successful teams now a days, they’ve gone off book.  Sure, some of them have so much talent, who knows how much is the coach.  But the Leafs with Keefe, Brindamour, Bednar, the Minny guy, even Cooper wasn’t a recycled guy at the time. 

Someone like Lambert might be ok, but otherwise, I hope he gets someone with a refreshing outlook and grow with the team.  Sometimes assistants don’t work out, as lots of Babcocks guys didn’t particularly fair well. 

We don’t have the talent yet, but I want to see this team play like the Leafs, Colorado, Carolina, Minny….

Anyhow, I just hope he doesn’t go to the well of retreads.

Posted by DieByTheWing on 05/07/22 at 12:34 AM ET


A bit slow on announcing candidates. Does that mean SY is focusing on assistants on playoff teams?

Posted by Gshaw722 on 05/07/22 at 09:20 AM ET

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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