New Detroit Red Wings coach Derek Lalonde knows job is ‘a huge responsibility’

Detroit Free Press

Derek Lalonde has had a whirlwind week: From the end of the Stanley Cup playoffs on Sunday to a phone call from his new boss Monday, flying to Detroit Tuesday, flying back to Tampa Bay, then back to Detroit to be introduced Friday as the new coach of the Detroit Red Wings.

It’s not letting up any time soon. Lalonde’s immediate task is to get his living arrangements sorted and then head to Montreal to be a part of the Wings’ table at the 2022 NHL draft on July 7-8.

WHAT IT BACK: Derek Lalonde’s Red Wings news conference: Watch replay

Lalonde, 49, comes to the Wings after four years as an assistant coach with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

“It’s a huge responsibility and I’m very excited for the challenge going forward,” Lalonde said.

Lalonde plans to meet, either in person or virtually, with Wings players as soon as possible. He inherits assistant coach Alex Tanguay from Jeff Blashill’s regime, but will need a new assistant for the defense and penalty kill, and a new goaltending coach.

Ultimately, Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman said, Lalonde made the most sense to take the Wings into the next step in the rebuild.

“At the end of April, when we made our coaching change, some of the things I talked about what I was looking for in a coach, Derek obviously fits perfectly in line,” Yzerman said. “His experience, his background as a coach, his style of coaching, his personality, his way with people. Over time, you are going to really appreciate the way Derek runs his staff, his people, and runs his program.

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“We spent a lot of time looking at coaches of all leagues, all different backgrounds, all levels of experience, and ultimately it came down to the decision that Derek fit really all the areas I felt were important for this organization and this team, where we are today and where we are going in the near and far future. We look forward to getting to work here immediately.”

Yzerman and Wings owner Christopher Ilitch discussed the opening for hours over the past nine weeks. It’s the first time Yzerman has hired a head coach since he was named GM in April 2019.

“Steve Yzerman and his staff have done a tremendous job over the last several month,” Ilitch said. “It was a very, very thorough search process. In the end, Derek really stood out as the right coach to have behind the bench for the Detroit Red Wings. He’s got a wealth of hockey knowledge. He’s been extremely successful  at all levels, including in the NHL with the two-time Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning.”

Contact Helene St. James at Follow her on Twitter @helenestjames. Read more on the Detroit Red Wings and sign up for our Red Wings newsletter. Her book, The Big 50: The Detroit Red Wings is available from AmazonBarnes & Noble and Triumph Books. Personalized copies available via her e-mail. 

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