Detroit Red Wings: Who Will Benefit Most From Jeff Blashill?

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The new head coach of the Detroit Red Wings, Jeff Blashill, will undoubtedly be a familiar breath of fresh air for the team come the start of the 2015-2016 NHL season. Blashill’s familiarity with the Red Wings organization, their style of play, and most importantly, the players, will all be huge assists as he transitions into his new role as the head coach of one of the most legendary and most well-respected teams in the NHL.

So with coach Blashill already having an established relationship with the majority of the Wings’ core players, who will benefit the most from having Blashill take over as head coach of the team? Let’s take a look at some of the possible candidates.

Oct 25, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Detroit Red Wings defenseman Jakub Kindl (4) skates up ice against the Philadelphia Flyers during the first period at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Jakub Kindl

The most obvious and already publicized leading candidate to have a resurgence under Jeff Blashill would be defenceman Jakub Kindl. Kindl never really found much favor under former coach Mike Babcock due to his lack of “competitiveness” as Babcock put it. Sure, Kindl has made his fair share of defensive blunders over the last few seasons, but he also had some good rebound games after being scratched, most notably his two-goal performance against Dallas last February.

Speaking of being scratched, Jakub was a healthy scratch in 33 of Detroit’s final 41 games (including playoffs) last season. In total Kindl only played in 35 regular-season games for the Wings last season in which he tallied 5 goals, 8 assists and a +2 plus/minus rating. Not terrible stats for a defenceman by any means. Between the rental Marek Zidlicky and impressive young blue-liners like Xavier Ouellet and Alexey Marchenko, Kindl found himself the odd-man out in the Red Wings’ defensive lineup.

But Jeff Blashill still sees value and opportunity for the former first round draft pick who played a few games for Blashill and the Grand Rapids Griffins last season.

"“When he came down to play with us I thought he did a great job. You can say it’s an NHL player coming down and playing, but you have to stand out and he stood out. He did a great job. He’s going back for pucks. He’s seeing through the forechecker, making the proper passes. I think for me that’s the No. 1 ingredient for defensemen to be great, their ability to break the puck out of their own end so you’re not playing in the D-zone and you’re playing in the other team’s end. That’s a formula for winning.”"

Even with the praise of his new head coach, Kindl will still have to standout and make an impression during Detroit’s training camp next month if hopes to earn a spot on the roster. With the Red Wings signing Mike Green this off-season and with a steady stream of young prospects ready to make the jump into the NHL, Kindl’s time may be running out.