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Holland to meet with Blashill this week, hasn’t expanded candidate list

Colorado Avalanche v Detroit Red Wings

DETROIT - OCTOBER 12: Executive Vice President and General Manager, Ken Holland of the Detroit Red Wings address the media during a press conference to announce the retirement from hockey of Kirk Maltby #18 before a NHL game against the Colorado Avalanche at Joe Louis Arena on Friday October 12, 2010 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)

NHLI via Getty Images

Though it’s likely just a formality, some news to pass along on the Red Wings coaching search -- GM Ken Holland will head to Grand Rapids this week to meet with AHL bench boss Jeff Blashill, the in-house (and leading) candidate to replace Mike Babcock behind the bench.

News of the meeting, first reported by the Detroit Free Press, comes roughly one week after Babcock left Detroit to sign a mega eight-year, $50 million (reported) deal with the Maple Leafs. Shortly after confirming news of Babcock’s departure, Holland confirmed Blashill was a “leading candidate” to be the next head coach while also revealing he would compile a shortlist of alternate choices.

As for that list... well, it hasn’t grown any in the last week.

“I’ve had some people reach out to me,” Holland told the Free Press on Tuesday. “But as of right now, I haven’t expanded the list.”

Some have speculated that former Penguins bench boss Dan Bylsma might be in the mix, though at this stage he looks more likely to take the Buffalo gig. Peter DeBoer, who broke into coaching with the old Detroit Junior Red Wings of the OHL, is also believed to be a potential candidate, but has interviewed elsewhere too (most notably San Jose.)