Today, the Detroit Red Wings announced that Alex Tanguay would be joining the coaching staff as an assistant. The announcement comes just over a month after the team parted ways with assistant coach, Dan Bylsma.
Tanguay, 41, has spent the past two seasons as an assistant with the Iowa Wild of the American Hockey League. In the Red Wings press release, they praised the Wild’s power play under Tanguay. During the 2019-20 season, the Wild had “the AHL’s fifth-best power play in Tanguay’s first season behind the bench at 21.9 percent.” This was a point of contention under Bylsma as the Red Wings had the second-worst power play in the league in 2020-21 (11.4 percent).
Not only is the power play a needed improvement for Detroit, but the offense as a whole as the team finished 30th in the league with a measly 2.23 goals per game. Tanguay’s offense in Iowa was among the league’s best, averaging 3.08 goals per game in 2019-20 and 3.15 in the shortened 2020-21 season. They also finished second-best in the AHL in shots per game in both seasons with Tanguay behind the bench.
Tanguay played 16 years in the NHL, most notably in the early 2000s as a member of the Colorado Avalanche. Of course, this was when the Red Wings-Avalanche rivalry was still in full swing, so some have found it a bit odd to see Steve Yzerman hire in a former rival of his. However, the hiring seems to make all the sense in the world and could be key for a Red Wings team that saw a lot of progress made on defense in 2020-21, but very little on offense.
He’ll be joining head coach Jeff Blashill behind the bench in 2021-22. Blashill signed a two-year extension back in May, which was seen as a controversial decision by some Red Wings fans. If significant improvement is not seen from a forward line that has a lot of young talent coming up, Blashill will likely be on the way out sooner rather than later. It’ll be a ‘wait and see’ on whether or not Tanguay can be the man to help the team there.
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