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Detroit Red Wings Potential Coaching Candidates

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The Detroit Red Wings are in need of a head coach. Jeff Blashill’s contract was not renewed for the 2022-23 NHL season. The former coach had been behind the bench for the Red Wings since the 2015-16 season. General manager Steve Yzerman made sure to say during his press conference announcing the decision to not bring Blashill back that he had not had the situation turn into a “sh-t show.”

Yzerman felt that the Red Wings franchise under Blashill had lost its way. This was the case on the offensive and defensive side of play. Defenseman and Calder Trophy candidate Moritz Seider made up for a multitude of sins for the defensive corps. He certainly proved that he could play at the professional level which was not a given when he was drafted. The Red Wings have talented defensive prospects in their pipeline that could join the “big club” sooner rather than later.

At an average age of 27 years 7 months and 29 days, the Red Wings defensemen are the 11th oldest in the league. Yzerman has done his best to revamp the roster in his three years as general manager and the defence was the biggest area of need. The likes of Danny Dekeyser and Marc Staal are nearing the end of their playing careers and their spots on the team will need to be filled by younger defensemen.

The coaching-style of Blashill, which can be described as the low event was employed to shelter the lack of talent on the Red Wings’ roster. It can be argued that this lack of talent led to the downfall of Blashill. Dylan Larkin was the only center on the Red Wings roster that could consistently drive play. This came the season after the 25-year-old played in only 44 games after a neck injury due to a high hit from Jamie Benn of the Dallas Stars.

Yzerman said that he has many candidates in mind when it comes to the next head coach of the Red Wings. There are several coaches in the National Hockey League and in other hockey leagues around the world. So, who are the candidates to become the 27th head coach for the Red Wings?

Given the lack of talent on the Red Wings roster, a coach like Blashill who emphasizes the defensive part of the game is a likely candidate. One of these such candidates is Barry Trotz. Trotz was recently let go by the New York Islanders. The Islanders’ general manager Lou Lamoriello said that the players needed a new voice. At some point, a team has gone as far as it can under a particular head coach.

Trotz is a Stanley Cup-winning coach after winning a cup with the Washington Capitals in 2018 who has the resumé to name the team that he wants to coach next. It would not be surprising to see a coach such as Trotz declined to lead a team like the Red Wings through the rest of their rebuild. The fact remains that the Red Wings will likely not compete for a playoff spot during the 2022-23 season.

Trotz was responsible for building the culture with the Nashville Predators as he was the first coach in the history of the franchise. He has proven that he can build a team from nothing. He was the coach of the Predators from 1999 to 2014 during which time he led the team to be a perennial favourite to win the Central Division. It is not out of the question for Trotz to want to take a front-office role with a team such as the Predators. David Poile is the only general manager that the Predators franchise has ever known.

Rikard Gronbörg is a European coach whose name keeps coming up in coaching rumours. Currently, the coach of the ZSC Lions in the Swiss National League, Gronbörg has earned the chance to coach in the best hockey league in the world. Gronbörg was the long-time coach of team Sweden whose teams amassed 13 medals at the World Championships, Olympics, and world juniors.

The fact that Gronbörg has been known to gain the trust of his young players would be something that the Red Wings brass should be interested in given the young corps on the roster. Seider will be looking to build on his Calder Trophy candidacy 2021-22 season under a new head coach.

Yzerman has hired three coaches in his time as the head coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning. The most successful of these coaches is Jon Cooper, who is currently coaching the Lightning as they look to win their third Stanley Cup in a row. The NHL draft will begin on July 7th in which the Red Wings will have the eighth overall pick in the first round. It is expected that the Red Wings will name a coach before then.

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