Detroit Red Wings: Derek Lalonde’s 2022-23 Report Card

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Detroit Red Wings, Red Wings, Derek Lalonde
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /

Detroit Red Wings head coach Derek Lalonde is blind to the price tag.

Potentially the most admirable aspect of what Lalonde has done in his rookie season behind the Detroit Red Wings bench as head coach is shown he is blind to the price tag. What the players on his roster are being paid means nothing to him if they are not producing or even contributing in a positive fashion.

It became apparent during the 2022-2023 campaign that if a certain player had a great game, they were awarded more ice time and, in some cases, replaced top-tier players on the powerplay and sometimes on the first or second line.

The most notable cases of this would be the increased minutes for Joe Veleno’s line before Zadina was lost to injury. They showed great chemistry and created a lot of time in the offensive zone. This forced Lalonde to trim down some high-paid players’ minutes like Andrew Copp, Fabbri, and Kubalík. Also, the use of Alex Chaisson on the powerplay was highly telling. What management values players at with certain dollar figures means nothing to Lalonde.

If you produce, you play. This might seem like a basic strategy, but you might be surprised if you were to look around the league and see coaching staff forcing “star” players into situations when they have a hot hand sitting on the bench.