DETROIT, MICH -- Now that we are merely days away from the inevitable announcement of a new Red Wings head coach, we're going to talk about what this means for the young core of players that Detroit has in the NHL, and waiting in the system. Mike Babcock coached this Red Wings team for 10 years before stepping down to take the coaching vacancy with the Toronto Maple Leafs, but got only but a taste of what is to come from the lush prospect farm ready to bolster the Detroit organization
While Babcock had players like Tomas Tatar, Gustav Nyquist, Riley Sheahan, Tomas Jurco, and Petr Mrazek - He never got his chances with other players such as Andreas Athanasiou, Tyler Bertuzzi, Dylan Larkin, or Anthony Mantha. Babcock saw very limited time with younger defensemen like Alexey Marchenko, and Xavier Ouellet, and bottom six forwards like Landon Ferraro. The next coach for the Red Wings is expected to be Jeff Blashill, as most of you know. Not only is Blashill a coach who is ready for the NHL, he has coached the Red Wings core of youth over the past few years, and has contributed to the development of the organization's future.
Ken Holland said it himself in late May: "This organization has [Blashill's] fingerprints all over it." The breakout of players like Euro goal scorers Tomas Tatar, and Gustav Nyquist were a key part in Detroit's ability to make a push for postseason play over the past two years. While Mike Babcock's system contributed to their success, let us not forget that Jeff Blashill was the man who has helped develop these players while they were putting in time with the Grand Rapids Griffins.
Bob Duff of the Windsor Star posted an article regarding the trust that Red Wings players have in the future bench boss Jeff Blashill. One of the names among Red Wings players mentioned in that article is 22-year-old Slovakian winger Tomas Jurco. Jurco had a bit of a slump season in 2014-2015, and saw most of his time playing fourth line minutes with Luke Glendening, and Drew Miller. While this was thought to be a tactic to develop his physical two-way abilities, he struggled with doing what he does best - Providing high-octane offensive flare.
"I love Blash," Detroit forward Tomas Jurco said. "He just understands the game really well. He’s a really good guy and you can talk to him and he understands you as a person."
I'm not going to sit here and dissect the relationship that Mike Babcock had with his younger players, but it is not secret that there was dissonance between the former head coach and the young guns of the Detroit Red Wings. If we recall back to the 2013-2014 season, Tomas Tatar was benched by Mike Babcock at the beginning of the season. While it wasn't a very long duration, my guess is that it certainly got inside the young winger's head a little bit. Tatar put up 39 points in 73 games that very season.
When Tomas Jurco was a rookie at the AHL level, he struggled to find his game much like his struggle now at the NHL level. Duff's article had a great quote from Jurco that provides a little sentiment that all Red Wings faithful will really appreciate: