The Detroit Red Wings are heading in a new direction on the head coaching position after seven seasons under Jeff Blashill. This comes after the franchise opted not to renew Blashill’s contract past this season.
The Red Wings ended the 2021-22 NHL campaign with a 32-40-10 record, missing out on the Stanley Cup playoffs. This was the sixth straight time Detroit didn’t make the postseason under Blashill.
Speaking about the decision in a press conference on Monday, Detroit’s general manager Steve Yzerman said that Blashill “did an outstanding job leading this team.” However, Yzerman felt that the team “fundamentally regressed” this season and believed a new voice in the locker room would bring a positive change.
Jeff Blashill joined the Red Wings organization in 2011 as an assistant before taking over the AHL affiliate Grand Rapids Griffins as a head coach one year later. Blashill was a success with the Griffins, leading them to a Calder Cup trophy in his first season. After three years in AHL, he was promoted to be the head coach of the Red Wings following Mike Babcock’s departure to the Toronto Maple Leafs ahead of the 2015-17 NHL season.
Blashill made the playoffs in his first season in charge, but things soon went south. Detroit embarked on a rebuild, and Blashill was often left to do the best he could with limited personnel. This resulted in a six-year postseason drought during which the Red Wings never finished higher than fifth in the Atlantic Division.