The Detroit Red Wings made a drastic change to their coaching staff today, as Jim Bedard has been let go, and Pat Ferschweiller has been assigned to a press box role, meaning that the Red Wings are now looking for two new bench assistant coaches.
Bedard has been the goaltending coach for the Red Wings since 1997, winning three Stanley Cups in 1998, 2002, and 2008. Some goalies he has seen under his watch include Curtis Joseph, Manny Legace, Dominik Hasek, Chris Osgood, and more recently, Jimmy Howard and Petr Mrazek.
Ferschweiller started out as an assistant coach with Western Michigan University in 2010-11 before being promoted in 2013-14 to associate coach. He joined Jeff Blashill’s AHL staff in 2014-15 before coming up to the NHL in the Wings most recent season. Ferschweiller was in charge of the Wings forwards and power play this season.
These moves, along with Tony Granato leaving the Wings in late March to coach Wisconsin, shows a massive overhaul to the coaching staff. With Granato in charge of defense and PK, Ferschweiller in charge of forwards and PP, and Bedard in charge of the goalies, every facet of Detroit’s game will be changed going into next season.
Ken Holland, who promised big changes in the summer, as lived up to his word so far, but that’s not to say that his job is done just yet.
EVALUATING THE COACHES
Despite the winning success during his 18 years, Bedard hasn’t exactly been the most successful at helping develop goalies. Of the 17 goalies that has played with him behind the bench, only two have a career save percentage of .920% or greater: Petr Mrazek, who is .920% on the dot, and Marc Lamothe, who played all of two games. Since the 2007-08 season, the Red Wings have had the 14th best save percentage in the league, with an average 91%. Luckily for Bedard, his goalies faced the fourth fewest shots per 60 at any strength in the league, an average of 27.7. Basically, he was an average goalie coach who benefited from excellent players and systems playing in front of his goalies for years, and now that the team is average, his flaws are more noticeable.
Ferschweiller was in charge of the offense this season, and it didn’t go well. The team’s 209 goals this season are the teams lowest since 1976-77, excluding the two lockout shortened seasons, and that season saw the team win it’s fewest games in a 70+ game season. Basically, they didn’t do the best job of scoring this season. Now, that could be due to personnel, as Henrik Zetterberg’s 50 points were the second lowest by a leading scorer to only Nazem Kadri’s 45. But considering that a majority of Wings had a career low this season, there’s a good chance that it might be the systems. In terms of power plays, the Red Wings were 18.8%, which is 13th in the league, but is the eighth worst for the Red Wings since the streak started it. Also, any player who was a regular on the power play in 2014-15 saw a drop off this season. It wasn’t a good season for Ferschweiller, as the offense dropped the ball when he was behind the wheel.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
Like I said earlier, these changes mean that Holland is a man of his word, and that he is willing to shake up the team to get them to be a contender, whether or not his moves are correct. The coaching staff is paying the price for a poor performance, and deservedly so.
Also, this means that Detroit has a chance to change up their systems, in hopes of getting better in the upcoming season. Whether they want to bring in a head coach out of a job, call up another Grand Rapids coach, or look at some available assistant coaches to replace them, as well as a new goalie coach.
Long story short, these two changes to the bench today are hopefully the first step to the team making the step in the right direction. If anything, it’s a good sign because it proves that management isn’t satisfied with mediocrity and “just getting in to keep the streak alive”, and they want to legitimately contend for the Cup again.