Jeff Blashill’s contract as head coach of the Red Wings was set to expire at the end of this season and he will not be receiving another one. The team announced that Blashill’s deal will not be renewed while Detroit is also parting ways with assistant coach Doug Houda and goaltending coach Jeff Salajko.
It’s the end of an era in Detroit as Blashill had been with the organization for more than a decade after joining them as an assistant coach back in 2011. After a season in that role, he became the head coach at AHL Grand Rapids for three years before taking over as bench boss of the Red Wings back in 2015 following the departure of Mike Babcock to Toronto.
Blashill’s tenure behind the bench in Detroit got off to a good start as the Red Wings made the playoffs in his first season although they were ousted in five games in the opening round. In the six seasons since then, however, they’ve yet to return to the postseason and have finished no higher than fifth in the division. This season, the Red Wings posted a 32-40-10 record, good for sixth in the Atlantic Division but on a points percentage basis (.451), that was actually an improvement on his overall numbers at the helm of the franchise (204-261-72 for a .447 points percentage). While rookies Moritz Seider and Lucas Raymond both flourished in their first NHL season, their progress wasn’t enough for Blashill to keep his job.
There are no shortage of coaches out there for GM Steve Yzerman to consider. If he wants a veteran bench boss, John Tortorella, Claude Julien, and Rick Tocchet could be considered. Ben Simon, the current head coach in Grand Rapids, will likely garner consideration as well. Meanwhile, Lane Lambert and Spencer Carbury are viewed as up-and-coming head coaches and could be options for Detroit, who will undoubtedly have other candidates in mind as well.
As for the departing assistant coaches, Houda had spent the past six seasons in that role with Detroit after serving as an assistant in Boston for ten seasons before that. Salajko, meanwhile, also had been in his role for the last six years after being the goalie coach with the Griffins for three years.
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