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Detroit inks AHL coach Blashill to three-year extension

Jun 4, 2014, 2:23 PM EDT

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One of the hottest NHL head coaching candidates is staying put — for now.

Jeff Blashill, the head coach of Detroit’s AHL affiliate in Grand Rapids, has signed a three-year extension to remain with the organization, the Wings announced on Wednesday. Blashill, 40, has been with Detroit since the 2011-12 season, first spending a year behind the Red Wings bench as Mike Babcock’s assistant before taking the head coaching gig with the Griffins.

In Grand Rapids, Blashill has enjoyed tremendous success. The team won the Calder Cup last season and advanced to the Western Conference semifinals this season before losing to the Texas Stars. The loss represented the first playoff series loss the Griffins suffered during Blashill’s tenure as head coach.

This past season, a number of his players successfully made the jump to the NHL: Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar, Riley Sheahan, Tomas Jurco, Joakim Andersson, Luke Glendening and Brendan Smith, to name a few.

The three-year extension is interesting on a number of fronts. One, it essentially takes Blashill out of the running for vacant positions in Vancouver, Florida and Carolina — earlier this month, Detroit GM Ken Holland called Blashill “an NHL coach in the making” — and two, it could be seen as a succession plan should (or, whenever) Mike Babcock decides to step down as Detroit’s head coach.

  1. pjblake2redwings - Jun 4, 2014 at 2:39 PM

    YES!!! we locked him up to take over just in case Babs leaves in the next few years. I dont think Babs will though since he loves Detroit and loves the area he lives in and making the playoffs every year isnt too shabby either

  2. snipedanglecelly13 - Jun 4, 2014 at 3:41 PM

    Now to sign niskanan!

  3. isphet71 - Jun 4, 2014 at 4:38 PM

    Blashill certainly is a great Plan B if Babcock doesn’t stick around! Especially since he has already coached half the Wings’ players in the AHL.

    It’s comforting to think that there probably wouldn’t be a huge dropoff if we lose Babcock over the next 3 years for one reason or another. I’d be sad if Babcock left, but it wouldn’t be the end of the free world.

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