The Detroit Red Wings have found their man.
The Red Wings finally completed their lengthy coaching search on Thursday night, announcing that former Tampa Bay Lightning assistant Derek Lalonde has been named the 28th head coach in franchise history.
Lalonde is coming off a historic run with the Lightning over the past four years, during which he and the rest of Jon Cooper's coaching staff helped lead the team to two consecutive Stanley Cup championships and one appearance in the Stanley Cup Final. The Lightning made the postseason in each of Lalonde's four years with the franchise, and even captured the President's Trophy as the NHL's most successful regular-season team in 2019.
Now, Lalonde will tackle an entirely new challenge in Detroit.
The Red Wings have been undergoing a scorched-earth rebuild ever since Steve Yzerman took over as Executive Vice President and GM back in 2019, with the team slowly inching towards the stage when they can begin to focus on contention. Lalonde, clearly, signifies just how imminent that next step is.
In fact, this is not Lalonde's first stint in the Red Wings organization. The Brasher Falls native spent two seasons as the head coach of the Red Wings' ECHL affiliate from 2014-2016, compiling an impressive 97-35-7-5 record along with two Brabham Cup titles as the ECHL's top regular-season team, and a Coach of the Year Award in 2014-15.
Needless to say, Lalonde's credentials are sparkling at all levels of professional hockey. And with the Red Wings set to take an important next step, the organization clearly feels that he's the right person to guide them.