The Los Angeles Kings made headlines by cleaning house. The announced the firing of head coach Darryl Sutter and General Manager Dean Lombardi Monday afternoon after the team missed the playoffs for the second time in 3 seasons.
With Sutter on the open market, there’s one team who should make a huge push at him. I think you get where I’m going with this one. Your very own Detroit Red Wings.
I may get some heat for this, but hear me out here. Earlier in the season, I wrote an article about how the Wings should give their current head coach Jeff Blashill another year, however ever since that article Blashill hasn’t helped his cause. At that time I said that there are no top level head coaches available to replace Jeff Blashill nor anticipated that one would be free by the off-season. Let me be the first to change my stance on this by saying this is a guy who you should get to replace Jeff Blashill. Yes he’s in the second year of his NHL coaching career and the Wings missing the playoffs isn’t completely his fault, however this is a team that needs someone behind the bench with NHL experience and can bring the most out of the players. The past two seasons saw Detroit trend backwards under Jeff Blashill. If a change is going to be made then Darryl Sutter is the guy Ken Holland should bring in.
There are a few things Red Wings want to keep in mind here. The team will be moving into the brand new Little Caesars Arena next season and for marketing purposes, the Wings will want to put a competitive team on the ice which will fill up the arena. Another thing to keep in mind is that Ken Holland has one more year left on his contract. This has an impact because as of late Holland has taken more steps backwards than forwards as of late. While this won’t really undo all the mistakes that has handicapped the Wings from a cap perspective, replacing Blashill for Sutter would likely buy him some time depending on the results.
Darryl Sutter won’t instantly make the Red Wings a Stanley Cup contender as there are some flaws that need to be addressed on this roster, however Sutter could get the most out of this team when it comes to toughness. Having watched the Kings under Sutter for 6 seasons, he’s a guy Detroit needs behind the bench. Yes, Jeff Blashill is still there and currently is the Wings head coach and it’s expected that he’ll return as head coach, but there is a top notch head coach on the market with plenty of NHL experience and 2 Stanley Cups under his belt. If Chris Ilitch and Ken Holland are as competitive as they say they are then this would be the best move to make.