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Detroit Red Wings

Jeff Blashill Now Second in Seniority Among Active NHL Coaches



Jeff Blashill, Detroit Red Wings coach
Jeff Blashill now ranks No. 2 among active NHL coaches continuous service with his current team.

After Paul Maurice stepped down as Winnipeg Jets coach today, Detroit Red Wings’ Jeff Blashill became second in seniority among active NHL coaches with their current team.

Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper is the seniority leader. He was hired March 25, 2013 by Steve Yzerman when he was the Lightning’s GM. Cooper has won back-to-back Stanley Cup championships.

Former Detroit general manager Ken Holland hired Blashill on June 9, 2015.  Jeff Blashill made the playoffs in his first NHL season as head coach and then has missed the past five seasons. The Red Wings are in their fourth season of rebuilding under Yzerman, although the rebuild technically started under Holland.

The team has shown improvement this season under Blashill, mostly because Yzerman’s first two drafts are starting to bear fruit. His first two first-round players, Moritz Seider (2019) and Lucas Raymond (2020) are already among the Red Wings’ most top players. But this team still has a long way to go to be a contender.

Seider is really the team’s most important defenseman and Raymond is a first-line performer.

Blashill Received Short Extension

Some fans, probably a significant number, have wanted a coaching change for a couple of seasons. Fans complain about who Blashill plays and perceived lack of development in players before the current rookies showed up.

Yzerman did extend Blashill’s contract last season for a year,  and its simply unknown what Blashill’s future is beyond 2021-22. While Yzerman inherited Blashill, he has publicly praised him, including last season. Yzerman pays close attention to the details of practice and he liked Blashill’s style.  They talk regularly about personnel. They seem to be on the same page in that regard.

Maurice was hired in 2014 so he was second before he decided to step down. Pittsburgh Penguins’ Mike Sullivan, hired in December of 2015, is now No. 3 on the senior rankings for coaches with their current team. That distinction is important because, for example, Barry Trotz logged a lot of years with Nashville and then Washington before going to the New York Islanders.