It wasn’t exactly music to the ears of Detroit Red Wings fans everywhere when they heard the news that highly coveted free-agent coaching candidate Gerard Gallant interviewed with the New Jersey Devils to become their next bench boss.
Gallant and the Red Wings have a history, particularly involving now-GM Steve Yzerman. Gallant suited up in the Winged Wheel for nearly a decade, played on Yzerman’s line, and continues his friendship with Yzerman to this day.
Naturally, when Gallant was unceremoniously canned by the Vegas Golden Knights earlier this season, speculation immediately ran rampant that a return to the Motor City would be facilitated. However, Yzerman hasn’t given any indication that a change behind Detroit’s bench will take place, going so far as to praise Blashill’s performance in the face of an eye-opening poor record.
If Gallant were to be poached by the Devils or a different franchise and Yzerman ultimately elects to make a coaching switch, his best option is still out there – former Stanley Cup winner Peter Laviolette.
Laviolette was also shown the door this year by his former employer, the Nashville Predators – whom he led to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2017. He helped the Carolina Hurricanes to their first title in 2006, while also leading the upstart Philadelphia Flyers to the championship round in 2010.
Additionally, he’s among the top American-born NHL coaches in history with over 600 career wins.
But what’s particularly attractive about Laviolette is that he’s led turnarounds in each of his three previous jobs, the first being with the New York Islanders in the early 2000’s.
If the man known affectionately as “Spuddy” ultimately decides not to reunite with his former linemate in Detroit, Yzerman still has the option of snagging an award-winning coach if a change is decided upon.