The Detroit Red Wings signed Jeff Blashill to a two-year contract extension that ends after the 2020-21 season, and it may be time to move on from him.
Detroit Red Wings General Manager (GM) Steve Yzerman has control over the remainder of this rebuild after enacting his Yzer-plan, but the on-ice product is in the hands of Jeff Blashill who was extended by Ken Holland as one of his last moves before the news of Yzerman’s return came about.
Blashill has been at the helm of the Red Wings since the 2015-16 season when things were heading downhill. After his first three seasons when he was deemed worthy of an extension there was some outcry from the fanbase who were upset with this choice to extend him.
However, if one thing has become apparent during his tenure with the Red Wings, he has the ability to coach younger players to develop. The win column may not be filling up, but his abilities to command a group of young players is what made him worth keeping around.
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Besides coaching the Red Wings, Blashill was the coach of the United States national team at the IIHF World Championships for a three-year run starting in 2016. He works well with the young players in terms of coaching them to develop.
As a former coach of the Griffins, Blashill had seen some of these players in the minors and was able to continue their development at the National Hockey League (NHL) level.
Though this development warranted a 17-49-5 record through 71 games this year, players like Tyler Bertuzzi showed strides in their development.
In a rebuild, the development of these young players is key and Blashill has not been the worst coach for this.
But it seems that the end of the road for Blashill is in the near future. With the Yzer-plan in effect, the Red Wings hope to get the rebuild finished off sooner than later.
This would mean that the Red Wings would need to bring in a new coach, with a larger focus on winning and being that leader during a time of competition rather than a focus on development. When it seemed a rebuild was forthcoming the promotion of Blashill seemed warranted.
But, the focus of the Red Wings is going to shift in the near future (hopefully), into a time of competition, and bringing in a new bench boss might be best for the organization. There are plenty of names out there, but one that sticks out is Gerard Gallant.
Gallant may not be on the market come 2020-21, but a former linemate of GM Steve Yzerman might be the answer during a time where the Detroit Red Wings look to shift into competition mode.