The 2016-17 season left a lot to be desired when it comes to coaching for the Red Wings. Let us take a minute to look at the coaching staff going into the 2017-18 season.
Jeff Blashill (Head Coach): Going into his 3rd season behind the wheel for the historic franchise, Jeff Blashill has not exactly been what the fans were hoping for. I do not think Blashill is a bad coach as much as it is the fact that he does not have the pieces he needs. Blashill can only do so much with what Kenny Holland gives him which is a lot of aging veterans that are past their primes. When he was with Grand Rapids, Blashill had success with the younger players as he developed them to his style of play. Look for a lot of improvement from players like Dylan Larkin, Anthony Mantha, Tomas Tatar, etc. as they get more playing time as the team enters the rebuilding phase.
Jeff Salajko (Goal Tending Coach): Jeff Salajko has his work cut out for him going into his 2nd season as the Red Wings goal tending coach. Petr Mrazek certainly struggled last year under Salajko which is not solely the coach’s fault, but it is his job to work with Mrazek to overcome the problems. Jimmy Howard should make Salajko’s job much easier, however, since he is an experienced veteran and played well last season. The biggest question surrounding Howard, as always, is whether or not he can stay healthy. In the long run for Salajko, it will come down to whether he can help Mrazek turn his play around and get him back to his 2015 self.
John Torchetti (Assistant Coach): John Torchetti joined the Red Wings coaching staff in 2016 to take over as the power play coach. The power play has struggled the last couple of seasons so Tochetti needs to step it up a bit. Last seasons’ power play struggles were not entirely due to poor coaching, but rather the lack of goal scorers on the team. This year, Torchetti will have a full season of Mantha, Larkin, Nyquist, and Tatar so that should help boost the power play.
Doug Houda (Assistant Coach): Doug Houda is the defense and the penalty kill coach. The defense was a real let down last season as they constantly had turnovers in their own zone and gave opponents odd man breakaways. Houda is going to have his hands full this year as the Wings did not add any defense-men who will be an improvement from last year.
Pat Ferschweiler (Assistant Coach): Pat Ferschweiler is going into his 3rd year as the Red Wings’ assistant coach. Ferschweiler worked with Blashill in Grand Rapids and came to the Wings together. Originally brought in to work with the power play unit, Ferschweiler is now the coach that handles operations from up in the booth.