Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman is backing Jeff Blashill looking toward next season.
If they weren’t already looking toward next season, with by far the lowest point total in the NHL this year (39 points), the Detroit Red Wings can do so now for sure as one of seven teams that’s not going to be part of a proposed 24-team playoff format. Head coach Jeff Blashill would seem ripe to be replaced, but broader uncertainty seems to be keeping that from being a lock.
Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman spoke to the media on Wednesday, and offered his backing of Blashill.
“My remarks and thoughts on the head coach, Jeff Blashill, haven’t changed from February,” Yzerman said. “I have no plans on making a coaching change at this time.”
Steve Yzerman places Red Wings failures on team talent, not Jeff Blashill
Blashill has a 153-194-52 record (.449 points percentage) over five seasons as Red Wings’ head coach, with four straight non-playoff seasons now. Yzerman acknowledged the need to improve the roster before a coach can be properly evaluated.
Blashill signed a two-year contract extension in 2019, just before Yzerman was hired as general manager, carrying him through the 2020-21 season. But next year appears to be a club option, which Yzerman indirectly suggested has been picked up.
With the start of the 2020-21 season perhaps delayed, after this year’s playoff format is completed, continuity might be the word in a lot of organizations The Red Wings also of course have the best odds to get the No. 1 pick in this year’s draft, which could bring a player who can make an immediate impact.
Yzerman inherited Blashill, albeit with plenty work do to on his own end to make the roster better. Still, saying there are “no plans” to make a coaching change has to be taken with a big grain of salt as executive speak. As long as he’s available Gerard Gallant still stands atop any list of candidates to replace Blashill in Detroit, whether it’s this offseason, into next season or a year from now.
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