Former Toledo Walleye coach Derek Lalonde has landed a job in the NHL as an assistant with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Former Toledo Walleye head coach Derek Lalonde, shown talking to his team in 2016, has been named an assistant with the NHL's Tampa Bay Lightning.
Lalonde coached in Toledo for two seasons — 2014-15 and 2015-16 — and led the Walleye to a 97-35-12 record.
The native of Brasher Falls, N.Y., was named the ECHL coach of the year after his first season in Toledo. He guided the Walleye to the Brabham Cup as the regular-season champions of the ECHL as well as an appearance in the conference finals.
Lalonde led Toledo to a second consecutive playoff berth and a 47-20-5 record the next season. He then accepted a job as head coach of the Iowa Wild of the American Hockey League.
During his two seasons in Iowa, Lalonde posted a 69-58-17-8 record. In his first season with the Wild — the top affiliate of the NHL's Minnesota Wild — Iowa posted team records for wins, home wins, road wins, fewest losses, and total points in a season.
Lalonde led the Walleye to the biggest turnaround in ECHL history during his first season in 2014-15. The team went from 21-44-7 in 2013-14 to 50-15-7 the next season, a 58-point improvement.
That season the Walleye set 44 franchise records and played in three Game 7s in the postseason. In the Eastern Conference finals against South Carolina, the Walleye were only the third team in ECHL history to dig out of an 0-3 series hole to force a Game 7 before losing to the Stingrays.
The next season Toledo earned the No. 1 seed in the Kelly Cup playoffs this season but was bounced out in the first round by the Reading Royals.
After accepting the job with the Wild, Lalonde said: “The turnaround we had in Toledo, you can't put a value on that. It's one of the most special things I've been a part of.”
Lalonde joins the staff of Tampa Bay Lightning vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman and head coach Jon Cooper.
NAGLE RE-SIGNS: Veteran goaltender Pat Nagle, who had a career year with the Toledo Walleye last season, re-signed with the Grand Rapids Griffins.
Nagle led the ECHL with 37 victories last season. The native of Bloomfield, Mich., earned All-ECHL second-team honors after setting a Toledo ECHL record for goaltender wins in a single season.
Nagle (37-6-4) helped lead the Walleye to a Central Division title. His 2.23 goals-against average ranked sixth in the ECHL, and his three shutouts were tied for fourth in the league.
The 6-foot-2, 195-pound netminder also represented the Walleye at the ECHL all-star game. Nagle signed a one-year contract with the Griffins, Toledo's AHL affiliate, on Thursday. It is the same deal he had with the AHL organization last season before spending the entire season with the Walleye.
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