Abel to Yzerman

Abel to Yzerman

Get To Work Derek Lalonde

07/01/2022 at 6:40am EDT

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

Here are some priorities for Lalonde:

1. Improve team defense

This is the biggest issue. A late-season collapse including multiple blowouts cost Jeff Blashill his job. Their 3.78 goals-against average ranked second from the bottom in the NHL and was their worst since 1989-90. It was due to a combination of poor defense and substandard goaltending.

Lalonde must instill a defensive mindset and implement a system where the team doesn’t allow as many scoring chances. Blashill tried, but it didn’t work. Personnel changes on the blue line will help, including adding 2021 No. 6 overall pick Simon Edvinsson. Alex Nedeljkovic must be more consistent after being outstanding some nights and pulled due to ineffectiveness on several occasions. They need a dependable backup in free agency or through trade.

2. Solve special teams

Amazingly, the Red Wings rank last in both the power play and the penalty kill cumulatively over the past seven seasons (excluding Seattle, which has played only one season), and it has cost them countless games. Lalonde needs an assistant who can infuse a shooting mentality and devise schemes to utilize their skill on the power play, whether that’s Alex Tanguay, who remains on staff, or someone else. The penalty kill often boils down to hard work, commitment and sacrifice -- which seemed to be lacking during the late-season swoon -- and of course, a team’s best penalty killer, its goaltender.

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