Wings Hire Assistants, Chris Conner

The Detroit Red Wings have completed their coaching staff.

Assistant coaches Bill Peters and Jeff Blashill were hired Friday and signed three-year contracts.

Detroit coach Mike Babcock had two openings on his staff this off-season. The Ottawa Senators hired Paul MacLean in June and the Red Wings didn't re-sign Brad McCrimmon when his contract expired in May.

Peters coached the Rockford IceHogs, the Chicago Blackhawks' American Hockey League affiliate, the previous three seasons. The Three Hills, Alta., native was on Babcock's staff with the Western Hockey League's Spokane Chiefs in the late 1990s.

Blashill, from Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., led the Western Michigan Broncos last season to their first NCAA tournament since 1996.

While it might surprise some Detroit fans that coaches like Pete DeBoer and Bob Boughner weren't hired, Blashill and Peters will do fine. They both know the importance of the Red Wings. With Blashill coaching at the Joe Louis Arena for the CCHA Finals this season and Peters being a part of Babcock's staff this move is a welcome addition. They should bring a hunger to their jobs as both have no NHL experience. 

Turning around a program like UWM is a feat in itself, so Blashill shouldn't have trouble. Peters made the IceHogs into a powerful team, according to Grand Rapids Griffins coach Jurt Fraser. All in all, good signings by Detroit.

Detroit also signed free agent forward Chris Conner to a two way contract. This means he will start the season in Grand Rapids because Jan Mursak and Cory Emmerton have to clear waivers to be sent down. Conner played for Dallas and Pittsburgh before signing in Detroit. With having NHL experience I think he'll be in the line-up before long. He's speedy and seems younger than 26. He'll most likely unseat Emmerton for a roster spot.

Kyle Busch


nowhere's picture

Time will tell on these assistant coach signings, but I like the direction they went. Guys that had been successful, and have been more or less in teaching/developmental positions at the AHL(Peters) and NCAA (Blashill) levels. To me this is partially an indication of where the roster is heading beyond this season, when I anticipate an influx of youth.

Kyle Andrew Busch's picture

I love the idea of the youth guys getting a chance. Good analysis.