With Mike Babcock Gone, Jeff Blashill in Prime Position for Red Wings Coaching Vacancy
If you've been living under a rock until right this second, let me get you caught up: Mike Babcock has left his coaching tenure with the Red Wings to pursue a hell of a lot of money in Toronto and the chance to be known as the greatest coach ever for turning around that organization. According to the known rules right now, Toronto will be required to give Detroit a third round draft pick in the next three years as compensation for signing Babcock.
The question I'm getting more than anything now is Why? OH GOD WHY?! "who is going to be the next head coach of the Detroit Red Wings?"
The answer to that question is almost certainly Jeff Blashill, the current coach of Detroit's AHL affiliate Grand Rapids Griffins. Blashill, 41, has been in the Red Wings' organization since July 2011 when he left the Western Michigan Broncos to join Detroit's bench as an assistant to Babcock. After one year of that position, Blashill took a job as the head coach of the Griffins, where he won the 2013 Calder Cup with a team led by guys like Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar, and Petr Mrazek.
Blashill has consistently dodged the question whenever it's been asked (most recently by MLive's Ansar Khan), but comments by General Manager Ken Holland about how Blashill is being groomed to be an NHL head coach, along with persistent indications that other teams have wanted to hire Blashill away since he won the Calder Cup makes him the most-obvious choice. I'm sure Detroit will weigh all their options, but I would be surprised if anybody but Blashill were named head coach.
It's important to remember right now that Grand Rapids is still active in the Calder Cup Playoffs this year, as they currently await their opponent for the Western Conference Final. While I anticipate Blashill being named Detroit's head coach, I do not anticipate that will happen before the Griffins' playoff run is complete. With two rounds left in the playoffs and the Griffins looking like a real contender, I'm not sure we'll see movement on that soon.