Blashill agrees to two-year contract to remain coach of Red Wings

Jeff Blashill agreed to terms on a two-year contract Tuesday to remain coach of the Detroit Red Wings.

The 45-year-old is 135-143-47 in four seasons with the Red Wings and ranks sixth in franchise history with 325 games coached.

“I’ve been in this organization for eight years and it has been an unbelievable experience,” Blashill said. “I believe our arc is starting to head in the right direction, but we’ve got a lot of work to do. I’m looking forward to digging into that work so that, a year from now, we’re in a better position than we are right now.”

Detroit reached the Stanley Cup Playoffs in his first season but has not qualified since. The Red Wings lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference First Round in 2016.

“As we continue to build towards the future, we have the utmost confidence that Jeff is the coach best suited to help our prospects become impactful NHL players,” Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said. “He has gained valuable experience as an NHL coach in each of his four years in Detroit and has instilled a work ethic in our current team that makes us hard to play against every night and competitive in every game, which is the identity we want our team to have as we move forward.”

Blashill was hired June 9, 2015 to replace Mike Babcock, who was Red Wings coach from 2005-15. Babcock signed a contract to coach the Toronto Maple Leafs on May 20, 2015.

The Detroit native joined the Red Wings in 2011-12 as an assistant. He then coached Detroit’s American Hockey League affiliate in Grand Rapids from 2012-15, before becoming coach of the Red Wings.

Detroit (31-38-10), which has been eliminated from playoff contention, has won five straight games and seven of its past eight.

“There’s a very fine line in this league between being a contender and being where we are right now,” Blashill said. “That’s a good thing for us, but we can’t just talk about being better. Now we have to take the next step and start turning competitive games into wins.”

The Red Wings host the Pittsburgh Penguins at Little Caesars Arena on Tuesday (7:30 p.m. ET; FS-D+, ATTSN-PT, NHL.TV).

“I think Jeff has done a very, very good job considering the circumstances of the rebuild,” Holland said. “Our team has been competitive on a night to night basis, and we’ve been involved to close to the most one-goal games in the League. When I look at the development of the young players on our team as we’ve gone through this rebuild, they’ve all improved.” correspondent Dave Hogg contributed

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