Detroit Red Wings, GM Yzerman Name Team’s Next Coach, No Stranger to Kalamazoo
Detroit Red Wings General Manager Steve Yzerman went with a familiar person in selecting the next coach for the team. It's Derek Lalonde, who has been an assistant to Jon Cooper with Yzerman's former team, the Tampa Bay Lightning, who just missed a winning a third consecutive Stanley Cup this past week.
Lalonde is no stranger to this part of Michigan or to Kalamazoo. A goalie in college, he started out his coaching career as an assistant at Ferris State for three seasons, and then moved on the Denver University for another five years. He was the head coach of the Toledo Walleye in the ECHL from 2014-2016, and finally joined the Lightning in 2018, just ahead of their Cup run.
Lalonde turn 50 in August, and becomes the 28th coach in Red Wings history, replacing former WMU coach Jeff Blashill. When he fired Blashill, Yzerman mentioned the lack of defensive progress as the team continues its rebuild. Lalonde has coached in the system that Yzerman wants run in Detroit. Between Blashill and his predecessor, Mike Babcock, the team has had only two coaches in the past 17 years.
Said owner Christopher Ilitch via the team's website:
"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. -DetroitRedwings.com