It’s no secret that the Detroit Red Wings are one of the most patient organizations when it comes to developing their young players.
With veteran names including Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg as well as up-and-coming players like Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Tatar, GM Ken Holland has preached over-readiness to his entire staff.
That over-readiness philosophy has been talked about even more recently with the hiring of new coach Jeff Blashill. While we all saw it coming, Holland named Blashill the team’s 27th head coach on Tuesday, stating that he has won everywhere he has coached.
- Ferris State University Bulldogs (assistant), 1999-2002
- Miami University RedHawks (assistant), 2002-2008
- Indiana Ice, 2008-2010
(Won the Clark Cup in 2008-09)
- Western Michigan University Broncos, 2010-2011
(WMU’s best record in 15 years)
(USCHO Coach of the Year)
(Inside College Hockey Coach of the Year)
(College Hockey News Coach of the Year)
- Detroit Red Wings (assistant), 2011-2012
- Grand Rapids Griffins, 2012-2015
(Won the Calder Cup in 2012-13)
(AHL Outstanding Coach 2013-14)
With his qualifications, Blashill is indeed over-ready. He has taken over a team that hasn’t made it past the first round of the playoffs in three of the past four years and his hunger, ambition and beliefs is just what Detroit needs.
Over the past 18 years as GM of the enviable Red Wings, Holland and the organization have created different philosophies within the locker room.
In the 1990s, Detroit had the infamous Russian Five with Igor Larionov, Slava Fetisov, Sergei Fedorov, Slava Kozlov and Vladimir Konstantinov who played together and were known for their combination of speed and puck control.
Moving into the 2000s, Holland seemed to have shifted the team into a Swedish-based group, adding players through the years to play alongside Nicklas Lidstrom and Tomas Holmstrom.
Swede Roster Additions
- Henrik Zetterberg 2002-03
- Niklas Kronwall 2003-04
- Johan Franzen 2005-06
- Jonathan Ericsson 2007-08
- Joakim Andersson 2011-12
- Jonas Gustavsson* 2012-13
- Daniel Alfredsson* 2013-14
*Added through free agency*
While all drafted players mentioned above are still within the organization (Nyquist and Andersson are restricted free agents), Holland may be changing the philosophy again.
A Homegrown Philosophy
Back to Jeff Blashill. Without taking away from Blashill’s qualifications, there has been wide talk of Blashill being raised in Sault Ste. Marie, growing up loving the Red Wings and knowing the organization well and what it is all about.
When Justin Abdelkader made the roster in 2007-08, he may have carved the path for Luke Glendening and Danny DeKeyser; all three were born and raised in Michigan where they grew up watching and cheering for the Red Wings.
In the 2014 NHL draft, the Red Wings selected Dylan Larkin, another Michigan native who has already began showing off his skill. After being named Big 10 Freshman of the Year where Larkin played for the University of Michigan, he won a bronze medal with Team USA at the World Championships.
Larkin wasn’t done there, he signed a three-year entry-level deal with Detroit and began his professional career by scoring five points (3 G, 2 A) in six playoff games for the Grand Rapids Griffins.
Aside from drafted Michiganders, in 2010 Holland signed long-time Dallas Star Mike Modano to a one-year contract. Modano was born in Livonia, Michigan.
Then, at the trade deadline in 2014, Holland found a trade partner with the Nashville Predators and brought in Detroit-native David Legwand for a playoff push.
With the young Larkin’s achievements and Abdelkader, Glendening and DeKeyser all having career-years this season (23 G, 44 pts.,18 pts., 33pts., respectively), a homegrown philosophy might be in place for Holland.
I offer opinions and insight on the Detroit Red Wings organization and its prospects.