It seems odd that the Detroit Red Wings wouldn’t be interested in hiring a coach like Gerard Gallant.
After the Vegas Golden Knights fired Gerard Gallant, it seemed he’d be destined to be the Detroit Red Wings next bench boss. Everything sounded perfect, Gallant, the former teammate, and linemate of Yzerman proved during his first year with an expansion team he can elevate his roster.
Although former Detroit Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock’s antics left a bad taste in my mouth, he indeed had the ability to elevate his roster. Sometimes it was cruel, well, most of the time, but he found a way to get his star players like Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk to remain motivated and focused.
That, at times, is easier said than done. I believe Gallant has that same type of motor abilities. Gallant enjoyed plenty of on-ice success playing with the Red Wings during the 80s and early 90s, usually found on a line with the budding star Yzerman. Gallant enjoyed nine seasons with Detroit before ending his career playing 52 games with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Believe it or not, Yzerman had appointed Gallant to coach in the past. In 2007, Yzerman, who managed Hockey Canada, authorized Gallant to be an assistant coach for the Men’s World Hockey Championship. Gallant helped guide the Canadian team to earn a Gold Medal.
Gallant, widely considered a ‘players coach,’ received his first head coaching gig with the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2003. After going 56-76-4-6, he’d be fired in favor of Ken Hitchcock.
It was with the Florida Panthers where Gallant started to excel behind the bench producing a 96-65-25 record in 186 contests. In 2015 the Panthers finished first in the Atlantic Division but were abruptly eliminated from the playoffs in round one. The following season Gallant would be fired after a mediocre 11-10 start to the season.
Gallant was hired to lead the Vegas Golden Knights during their inaugural season leading them to the Stanley Cup Finals. On paper, Vegas was considered a bottom feeder being an expansion team, but they played well above their expectations, Gallant deserves credit for much of their success. In 2018 Gallant was awarded the Jack Adams Award, which is presented to the leagues’ top coach.
Through 49 games this season, Gallant guided the Golden Knights to a respectable 24-19-6 record before being fired.
That’s when the wheels started to turn; perhaps he’d make for a perfect replacement to Jeff Blashill in Detroit knowing all of his history with Yzerman. Gallant would be my top choice at this point to be Detroit’s next bench boss, but with the Detroit Red Wings committed to Blashill, it’s just a pipe dream.