Detroit Red Wings HC Derek Lalonde explains decision to roll with 22 players rather than 23
In a move that surprised some, Detroit Red Wings head coach Derek Lalonde has chosen to begin the season with 22 players instead of the customary 23. On Monday, Lalonde spoke to the media and he explained his decision to roll with 12 forwards instead of 13.
What Did Derek Lalonde Say?
Lalonde explained that he does not feel like the Red Wings need 13 forwards to start out the season.
“Right now we don't need it,” Lalonde said. “Right now, obviously knowing that 13th (forward) could be an easy callup anywhere (from Grand Rapids) and with the seven NHL caliber defensemen, if we get that odd morning or afternoon sickness or something happens in warmups, we have no problem with 11 (forwards) and seven (defensemen).
“But those will be the 12 (forwards) and I'm not opposed to 11 and seven on Thursday, also (in the season opener in New Jersey). It's what we are right now post (training) camp.”
The Red Wings head coach is confident with the seven defensemen he has to work with.
“It's a luxury of having seven NHL defensemen, which we haven't had and many teams haven't had,” Lalonde said. “Some guys may have to sit (eventually) and I'll communicate it as best as I can. If someone has to be held accountable because of play, that'll be easy to do. It's just the reality of it and it's a good problem to have.”
“In today's NHL, with the salary cap, your team is 15 forwards and eight or nine defensemen,” said Lalonde, of juggling players because of injuries and cap restrictions. “That's just the reality of those guys in GR rather than being here and sitting in the press box.”
TL;DR (too long didn't read)
- Detroit Red Wings head coach Derek Lalonde has made the decision to start the season with 22 players instead of the usual 23, opting for 12 forwards, seven defensemen, and three goaltenders.
- Lalonde believes the team's depth in Grand Rapids, along with seven NHL-caliber defensemen, provides enough flexibility to manage injuries or lineup changes.
- The move reflects the evolving nature of NHL rosters due to salary cap constraints and the need for teams to adapt to various situations throughout the season.
Bottom Line – A New Approach to Roster Management
Derek Lalonde's choice to go with 22 players at the start of the season signals a strategic shift in the way NHL teams approach their rosters. It emphasizes the importance of adaptability and managing resources efficiently in today's salary cap-driven league. As the Red Wings embark on their season, this unconventional approach could prove to be a valuable asset in the challenges that lie ahead.