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Detroit Red Wings’ Alex Tanguay: A Closer Look

Alex Tanguay Coach

Last week, the Detroit Red Wings signed Colorado Avalanche legend Alex Tanguay as an assistant coach. Tanguay, who will serve the power play and penalty kill, will replace the role of Dan Bylsma. This is Tanguay’s first NHL coaching experience. Last season, he served as the assistant coach for the Iowa Wild of the AHL. Due to his efforts, the Wild secured the fifth-best power play in the AHL and over 3.15 goals per game last season. With the Red Wings on the hunt for offense, Tanguay seems like the perfect fit for the young team.

Alex Tanguay Signed by the Detroit Red Wings

Tanguay played 16 years in the NHL, scoring 863 points in 1,088 games. He scored over 50 points eight separate times in his career, including a four-season stint where he obtained 67 points or better each season. To say Tanguay knows a thing or two about offense is an understatement. As both a player and a coach, he recognizes the importance of special teams. His success as a young coach in the AHL showcases serious potential at the NHL level. For the last two seasons, the Wild topped the AHL in average shots per game with 32.68.

The Red Wings, on the other hand, ranked 31st in goals-per-game with just 2.16 goals-per-game. In shots per game, the Red Wings were 31st again with 26.3 shots. They were able to just barely get a lead on the Anaheim Ducks for total goals with 125 goals. For reference, the Ducks had 124 goals last season. To put it lightly, the Red Wings had the most abysmal offense in the NHL last season. Injuries, a lack of creativity on the power play, and a lack of talent caused the offense to suffer. Dan Bylsma’s power play was the second-worst in the league. It appears Tanguay has his work cut out for him here.

How Alex Tanguay Can Help the Red Wings

Tanguay and the Red Wings appear to be an ironic match made in heaven. Once bitter rivals, the former Avalanche player is now in charge of the team’s power play and penalty kill — two pieces that need a lot of work. Obviously, it will be hard to tell what Tanguay can do until he takes the reins. This is his first NHL role behind the bench; as such, the expectations are fairly low. Having said that, Detroit’s offense is already the worst in the league. It’s already at rock bottom and it’s hard to see it getting any worse. Anything better than the worst offense in the NHL will be a massive improvement. If Tanguay can turn a middling AHL team like the Iowa Wild into an attention-grabbing offensive threat, he can certainly help the Red Wings improve.

Realistic Expectations for the Red Wings

With this in mind, it’s hard to pinpoint exact expectations for Tanguay. At the very least, “not the worst offense in the league” seems like a good starting point. Realistically, it’s hard to assume Tanguay will turn Detroit into an offensive powerhouse right off the bat. Throughout the next three years, he’ll have a chance to blueprint the offensive structures of the Red Wings. With Lucas Raymond, Jonatan Berggren, and other high-end prospects entering the fold, he can create systems that will help each of the young guns succeed. In addition, if he exceeds expectations, he might have the opportunity to seize the reins as head coach. Should Jeff Blashill flounder, Tanguay will be there to pick up the slack. By all accounts, this signing appears to be a huge win for Hockeytown.

Here’s to hoping old rivalries translate into new success in Detroit.

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