The Detroit Red Wings have a new assistant coach, as GM Steve Yzerman announced the hiring of Alex Tanguay today. The Stanley Cup champion has spent the last two seasons as an assistant with the Iowa Wild of the AHL and will now get his first chance behind an NHL bench.
Tanguay, 41, retired from a long playing career in 2016 after more than 1,000 games at the NHL level. Most of that time was spent with the Colorado Avalanche, though there were also stops with the Calgary Flames, Montreal Canadiens, Tampa Bay Lightning and Arizona Coyotes. A gifted playmaker, he recorded a career-high 81 points in the 2006-07 season and finished with 580 career assists. In 2001, he scored the Cup-clinching goal with the Avalanche but would lose to the Yzerman-led Red Wings in the Western Conference Final the following year.
Now behind the bench instead of on it, Tanguay is an up-and-coming coaching prospect that will quickly make the leap to the NHL. He’ll join head coach Jeff Blashill’s staff for the 2021-22 season, replacing the outgoing Dan Bylsma, who left the club earlier this year. Blashill was clear that in the search for a replacement the team would be looking for someone that can help the powerplay, which Tanguay is obviously qualified to do. In his career, he registered 244 points with the man-advantage, picking apart defenses with quick puck movement and precision passing.
He certainly can’t make it much worse, as the Red Wings had the league’s second-worst powerplay in 2020-21. At just 11.4% effectiveness, it sagged well behind everyone except the Anaheim Ducks. Even raising it to the league average of 19.8% would have resulted in 12 more goals in the shortened season.