The Athletic’s Craig Custance discusses Jeff Blashill’s need to impress during the final year of his contract with the Red Wings:
In Detroit, Blashill runs a program that was once great and is now going through the long and painful process of trying to reclaim its place as one of the best organizations in the NHL. And heading into this NHL season, one that begins for the Red Wings tonight against the Blue Jackets, he’s facing a crucial point in the process for himself personally.
This season marks the last of the four-year contract he signed to replace Mike Babcock when Babcock left for the Maple Leafs. Blashill, to put it in the parlance of the players, is in a contract year.
He has to earn his extension by succeeding with a roster that has all the makings of one that should end up close to the basement. By any reasonable calculation, it’s not a playoff roster. It’s also not an ideal spot for a coach being evaluated in a league measured by wins and losses.
“My focus as a coach is no different regardless of my contractual situation. It’s everything possible we can do to help these guys continue to take steps so our team ceiling gets higher and higher and higher and higher,” Blashill said. “The question is, ‘How quick will that happen?’ I can’t answer that. That’s the goal regardless of my contract.”