Jeff Blashill gives instructions during training camp last September. (David Guralnick / Detroit News)
Detroit – The Red Wings have kept a valuable member of the organization.
Jeff Blashill agreed to a new three-year contract to remain head coach of the organization's minor-league affiliate Grand Rapids Griffins.
Blashill, 40, had one year remaining on his contract and general manager Ken Holland did not allow other NHL teams to interview Blashill for potential head coaching openings around the league.
Holland could revisit that issue next summer, depending on Babcock's future and what else transpires around the NHL.
The new deal voids the final year of Blashill’s old contract.
"Jeff Blashill has done a tremendous job in Grand Rapids," Holland said. "Our young players were instrumental in getting us into the playoffs for a 23rd straight season, and the championship experience they got under Jeff in Grand Rapids was invaluable in turning those young players into NHL players.
"We're excited to keep one of the top young coaches in hockey to continue to lead in the development of the next wave of Red Wings."
Blashill has been part of the Red Wings organization for three seasons, the first on the bench as an assistant for Mike Babcock.
"I'm thrilled to be able to remain with the Griffins," said Blashill, who is from the Big Rapids area; his wife is from Metro Detroit. "Both the Red Wings and Griffins are top-notch organizations filled with talented people that I enjoy working with. My family loves it here, and I'm happy to be able to continue to call Grand Rapids home.
“The AHL is a very challenging league, and we have a great group of young players and veteran leaders.”
With Babcock under contract for only one more season, Blashill could be a viable alternative to replace Babcock if a contract extension cannot be worked out.
Blashill wasn’t interested in talking about such speculation.
"I deals in facts, I don't deal in speculation or rumors," Blashill said. "I have an opportunity to continue a job I enjoy. My focus is to do the best job I can possibly do."