Expect the Detroit Red Wings to make an announcement next week that Jeff Blashill will be their next head coach. Blashill was the heir apparent to former coach Mike Babcock and has spent the past three seasons coaching the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins. In 2012-13, he led the Griffins to a Calder Cup championship.
It won’t come as a shock to many, but according to a report Jeff Blashill, the coach of the Red Wings AHL affiliate Grand Rapids Griffins, is expected to be named the new Detroit bench boss as early as next week.
The writing for Blashill was likely on the wall when the Red Wings weren’t allowing other teams to talk to him regarding their coaching vacancies and when reports surfaced that should former Red Wings coach Mike Babcock have stayed in Detroit, Blashill would be given every opportunity to seek employment elsewhere.
There was also Babcock himself, who told the FAN 590’s Prime Time Sports on the day of his hiring in Toronto that, “Blashill’s going to be the next coach of the Wings.” And, it appears as soon as next week, that will officially be the case.
According to MLive.com’s Ansar Khan, it’s likely that when Blashill is named the coach of the Red Wings, he will be given a three-year contract to match the remaining years on Detroit GM Ken Holland’s deal. According to Khan, the earliest the announcement will be made is Tuesday, as Blashill has exit interviews scheduled with his Griffins players.
The news of Blashill landing the NHL job comes mere days after the Utica Comets eliminated his Griffins from the Calder Cup playoffs. Over his time in Grand Rapids, Blashill took a team that had missed the post-season for three consecutive seasons and immediately turned them into a championship franchise.
In Blashill’s first season in Grand Rapids in 2012-13, he led the club to a 42-26-8 record in the regular season and the Griffins rolled to a hard-fought Calder Cup championship victory over the Syracuse Crunch. The next season, the Griffins lost to the eventual Calder Cup champion Texas Stars in six games in the second round. This past campaign, the Griffins again made a deep run, but were bested by the Western Conference-leading Comets in five games in the Western Conference final.
A number of current Red Wings came through Grand Rapids and were coached by Blashill, including Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar, Riley Sheahan, Tomas Jurco, Joakim Andersson, Luke Glendening, Brendan Smith, Petr Mrazek and Alexey Marchenko.
In his three seasons behind the Griffins bench, Blashill coached 228 games and amassed a record of 134-71-23. Before coaching at the NHL and AHL levels, Blashill was an NCAA assistant for several seasons and championship winning coach of the USHL’s Indiana Ice in 2008-09.