Who could replace Jeff Blashill as Red Wings head coach? Here are 10 possibilities

Detroit News

Detroit — There will be plenty of names and speculation, and chances are, general manager Steve Yzerman isn’t going to make a decision quickly.

But Yzerman’s decision Saturday to not renew the contract of Jeff Blashill obviously means the Red Wings need a new head coach.

Who is out there?

There’s always candidates, from the NHL to the minor leagues, junior hockey and Europe. And there are many who are highly qualified.

Here are 10 candidates who could be intriguing candidates, at first blush, for a Wings head-coaching position that could be attractive because of the young talent on the roster, and coming into the organization in the future.

Rikard Gronborg: A little outside the box, but very intriguing. Gronborg, 53, is a longtime coach of Sweden’s national team and currently coaching the Zurich Lions in Switzerland. Gronborg played college hockey at St. Cloud State (Minnesota) and is married to an American. Has coached nearly every big-name Swedish player at some point, including Nicklas Lidstrom, who has spoken well of Gronborg. There could be a large influx of Swedish players on the Wings’ roster in the near future, too.

Benoit Groulx: Groulx has been head coach of Tampa Bay’s AHL’s team in Syracuse since 2016 and has been in the playoffs every season. Yzerman is familiar with Groulx, who has proven to be successful coaching and developing younger players. Groulx interviewed for the Arizona job last year.

Paul Maurice: Left the Winnipeg Jets earlier this season after nine seasons, believing the Jets needed a new voice. Maurice, 55, is a Windsor native, and coached against the Wings in the 2002 Stanley Cup Finals with Carolina. Maurice could be intrigued by the Wings’ up-and-coming talent.

Pascal Vincent: A minor-league coach who has been mentioned for NHL vacancies for the past several years. Currently an assistant in Columbus, Vincent, 50, had a successful five-year run in Manitoba for Winnipeg’s AHL team, while also spending five years as a Jets assistant.

Lane Lambert: A former teammate of Yzerman’s, Lambert, 57, has been on Barry Trotz’s staff in Nashville, Washington and the New York Islanders. Lambert is “overdue” for a head-coaching position, Trotz has said in numerous interviews. Lambert has a reputation for being a good motivator and has been seriously considered for openings in Colorado and Anaheim in the past.

More: Jeff Blashill’s dismissal draws few surprises from national media, social media

Marco Sturm: Sturm, 43, has been climbing the coaching ranks and gets major credit for growing his native German men’s national team. Sturm is currently an assistant coach for the Los Angeles Kings, and had a good NHL playing career which would carry weight with current players.

Todd Nelson: Remember Nelson? He was the Grand Rapids Griffins head coach in 2017, guiding the Griffins to a Calder Cup championship. Nelson has never missed the playoffs as a coach and won three minor league championships in 10 seasons. Nelson, 52, coached Edmonton on an interim basis for 46 games in 2014-15. Currently an assistant with the Dallas Stars.

Kirk Muller: Muller, 56, played 1,349 games in the NHL and has been a respected assistant coach. Muller was head coach in Carolina from 2011-14. Muller replaced Claude Julien during the 2020 playoffs with Montreal, when Julien was hospitalized with chest pains. Muller is currently associate head coach in Calgary.

Alain Vigneault: Vigneault, 60, was fired by the Philadelphia Flyers this season, but has been successful in Montreal, Vancouver and the New York Rangers, his other stops, with 722 NHL victories and 1,363 games coached. Definitely has the experience, but there is doubt how well he works with young players.

Rick Tocchet: Currently in the television booth, but Tocchet, 58, did an admirable job in four seasons in Arizona, under difficult circumstances, and earned a lot of credit as an assistant during Pittsburgh’s two Stanley Cups in 2016-17.


Twitter: @tkulfan

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