As it turned out, the Detroit Red Wings traded head coach Jeff Blashill to the Tampa Bay Lightning for assistant coach Derek Lalonde.
The Lightning announced today that Blashill was hired as an assistant to replace Lalonde on coach Jon Cooper’s coaching staff. Blashill and Cooper are good friends. They are also both close to Lalonde who is now Detroit’s head coach.
Once the Detroit Red Wings fired Blashill, it was speculated throughout the league that he would end up working for Cooper.
Blashill, 48, joins assistant coaches Jeff Halpern and Rob Zettler along with goaltender coach Frantz Jean and video coaches Nigel Kirwan and Brian Garlock. Reports said GM Steve Yzerman also looked at Halpern as a candidate for the Red Wings’ job. However, Lalonde (pronounced La-LOAN) was always thought to be the favorite.
Most recently, Blashill was Detroit Red Wings coach for seven seasons (2015-16 to 2021-22), posting an overall record of 204-261-72 in 537 regular season games. He had with one postseason trip in his first season in 2016. The Detroit squad lost in an Eastern Conference Quarterfinal in five games to the Lightning.
Yzerman hired both Cooper and Lalonde when he was the Lightning general manager. Yzerman inherited Blashill as Detroit’s head coach from outgoing GM Ken Holland.
Blashill is going to a team that has reached the Stanley Cup Final for three consecutive seasons, and won two of them. The Lightning have won 46 playoff games over the past 24 games. But the team will be changed next season with Ryan McDonagh traded to the Nashville Predators. Plus, Ondrej Palat can be an unrestricted free agent on Wednesday. The Lightning did manage to re-sign gritty forward Nick Paul. The 6-foot-4 winger could have been an unrestricted free agent. However, he chose to re-up with Tampa Bay. The Lightning are also trying to sign defenseman Jan Rutta before he leaves.