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Red Wings give AHL coach Jeff Blashill 3-year deal as insurance in case Mike Babcock departs

DETROIT - The Detroit Red Wings agreed to a three-year contract Wednesday with coach Jeff Blashill to lead their American Hockey League team.

Red Wings coach Ken Holland says he's excited to keep one of the young coaches in hockey.

If Mike Babcock does not keep coaching the Red Wings after his contract expires following next season, the Red Wings can potentially promote Blashill to lead their NHL franchise.

The 40-year-old Blashill was the AHL coach of the year last season. He was one of Babcock's assistants for one year before moving on to lead the Grand Rapids, Michigan, Griffins the past two seasons. The Griffins won the AHL championship last year for the first time and lost in the second round of the playoffs this year.

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