In a move that has foreshadowing written all over it, the Red Wings announced on Wednesday that they have signed Grand Rapids head coach Jeff Blashill to a new contract that keeps him in the organization through the 2016-17 season.
"I have a great job," the 40-year-old Blashill said. "I work for a great organization. I enjoy working for (Wings GM) Ken Holland and (assistant GM)Ryan Martin. I enjoy coaching the Grand Rapids Griffins. It’s a great fit for my family."
"I feel really lucky to have the job that I have and to have the opportunity to extend the time period in which I’m secured to do that. I was excited about."
With a year remaining on his old contract, the Wings approached Blashill about working out a new deal right after the Griffins were eliminated from the AHL playoffs May 18.
Both sides were eager to get something done, and it didn’t take long for the Wings and Blashill to hash out the details.
Essentially, the Wings threw out the last year of his existing contract and gave Blashill a three-year deal with a hefty raise. The contract takes effect on July 1.
"Jeff Blashill has done a tremendous job in Grand Rapids," Holland said in an official release by the Wings. "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."
How long Blashill remains in Grand Rapids is questionable. Entering the final season of his contract, Red Wings coach Mike Babcock looks like he’s prepared to test the market for his services next summer.
Blashill refused to comment on whether he’s next in line to coach the Wings if Babcock chooses to coach somewhere else.
"I never looked at my career as a race to go anywhere," Blashill said. "I have always looked to do the very best job I can in the job that I’m in, and the rest takes care of itself."
"I try and deal in facts, and the fact is, I’m the coach of the Grand Rapids Griffins and Mike Babcock is the head coach of the Detroit Red Wings."