Abel to Yzerman

Abel to Yzerman

Waiting On Derek Lalonde?

06/23/2022 at 8:09am EDT

from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,

Given how much time he has had to interview available candidates, Yzerman may be waiting for the Stanley Cup Final to end so he can talk to Derek Lalonde, who has been an assistant coach with the Tampa Bay Lightning since Yzerman's last year with the team. Lalonde, mentioned early on as a candidate by the Free Press, was an assistant at Ferris State early in his coaching career, and has been a head coach at the USHL and ECHL level. He coached in the latter with the Toledo Walleye from 2014-16, before Yzerman's return to Detroit but during Toledo's affiliation with the Wings. During his first season, Lalonde led the Walleye to a 50-15-5-2 record, claiming the Brabham Cup as the ECHL's regular-season champion. Before being hired in Tampa in 2018, Lalonde was head coach for two seasons in the AHL with the Iowa Wild. During his tenure (69-58-17-8), the Wild posted team records for wins, home wins, road wins, fewest losses and total points in a season.

Yzerman plucked coaches from the AHL the two times he hired head coaches in Tampa: Guy Boucher in 2010, and, after firing him in 2013, Jon Cooper, the former Lansing Catholic coach who has the Lightning competing for a third straight Stanley Cup. Yzerman may see a situation in Detroit ideal for doing so again: The Wings are in a transitional stage, ready to take the next step in the rebuild but not yet at contender status. Lalonde, 49, doesn't have the leverage or salary demands of high-profile coaches such as Quenneville or Barry Trotz. Lalonde could be hired on a two- or three-year deal, giving Yzerman an opportunity to see if he can improve the Wings defensively, which was one of the chief criticisms Yzerman leveled at Blashill in announcing the coaching change.

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