Jeff Blashill will definitely have one new assistant in Detroit next season, with Tony Granato having accepted the head coaching gig at Wisconsin.
But could other changes be coming as well?
Pat Ferschweiler, in his first season as an NHL assistant coach, was in charge of a power play that struggled much of the season, despite finishing 13th in the league following a late surge. It was ineffective in the playoffs (1 for 25).
Blashill didn’t rule out changing roles on the staff.
“We’ll look at everything,” Blashill said. “How I can be better is partly how we all can be better as a staff, so we’ll look at everything in totality and how we can make ourselves more productive. Our goal is to try to get better and if that’s done through our staff then we’ll certainly address that.”
Given Blashill’s the NHL’s second-youngest coach (at 42) and Ferschweiler doesn’t have a ton of experience, the Granato loss becomes even more profound. He was the only guy on staff with history as a player and former NHL head coach.
As such, all signs point to Detroit going for a veteran hockey guy behind the bench (or hockey guys, plural, if Ferschweiler isn’t retained.)
Adam Oates would be an interesting name, if Oates hadn’t recently told Sportsnet “I presume my coaching days are over,” and “I’m not planning on coaching anymore.” Remember, Oates spent some time at Detroit practices this year as a power-play/skills coach (read more from the Free Press here) and is familiar with the organization, having broken in with the Red Wings during the mid-80s.
What’s more, Oates has experience as a head coach on two NHL benches — Washington and New Jersey — and also served as an assistant in Tampa Bay.