Detroit Red Wings name Tampa Bay Lightning assistant Derek Lalonde as new head coach

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Steve Yzerman chose Derek Lalonde to lead the Detroit Red Wings on their next step in the rebuild.

The path of promoting a newcomer to the NHL head coaching ranks is one Yzerman has chosen twice before. Lalonde replaces Jeff Blashill, who was let go April 30.

It is the first time since Yzerman was named general manager in April 2019 that he has brought in his own head coach. At the time he made the announcement regarding Blashill, Yzerman cited a need for the team to be better defensively, and pointed to how the team regressed in the second half after an encouraging first half.

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Tampa Bay Lightning assistant coach Derek Lalonde, top, on the bench during Game 2 of the first round of the playoff series against the Toronto Maple Leafs, May 4, 2022 in Toronto.
Tampa Bay Lightning assistant coach Derek Lalonde, top, on the bench during Game 2 of the first round of the playoff series against the Toronto Maple Leafs, May 4, 2022 in Toronto.

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 champions. 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.

[WHAT HAPPENED: Steve Yzerman: Detroit Red Wings 'regressed' under Jeff Blashill]

This is the Wings' first new head coach since 2015, when Blashill was promoted in the wake of Mike Babcock's departure. Blashill and Babcock combined to coach the Wings for 17 years.

Contact Helene St. James at hstjames@freepress.com. 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. 

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Derek Lalonde named Detroit Red Wings' new head coach