The latest on possible destinations for Detroit Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock.
MLIVE.COM: Ansar Khan reports the list of teams which have formally sought permission to speak with Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock has grown to four, as the San Jose Sharks and St. Louis Blues have reportedly joined the Toronto Maple Leafs and Buffalo Sabres. The Philadelphia Flyers and Edmonton Oilers, thought to be among those interested in Babcock, have not asked for permission to speak to him. It’s believed the Oilers are set to hire former Sharks coach Todd McLellan, who guided Canada to gold at this year’s IIHF World Championships. The Wings, meanwhile, are still willing to pay top dollar to re-sign Babcock.
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH: Jeremy P. Rutherford also reported on the interest in Babcock by the Blues, who are currently evaluating if they’ll bring back Ken Hitchcock for a fifth season behind their bench. He notes Babcock could seek up to $5 million per season from potential suitors.
CSNBAYAREA.COM: Kevin Kurz weighed in on the Sharks’ reported interest in Babcock, citing a source claiming the Wings coach initiated the upcoming discussions with the Sharks, who were obviously receptive. Should the Sharks failed to sign Babcock, Kurz cites a report claiming former New Jersey Devils’ coach Peter DeBoer could speak with them a second time. Trent Yawney, Dan Bylsma, Dave Lowry and Randy Carlyle have also emerged as potential candidates for the Sharks’ head-coaching job.
DETROIT FREE PRESS: Prior to the report of the Sharks and Blues seeking permission to speak to Babcock, Drew Sharp noted there didn’t seem to be much interest in the Red Wings’ coach, noting Pittsburgh, Boston and Montreal passed on pursuing him.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given the lack of player trade and free-agent rumors, Babcock’s status takes center stage in the rumor mill. He’s expected to reach a decision on his future before the end of this week. The addition of the Sharks and Blues into the mix adds intrigue to this story, as only a couple of days ago there was apparently limited interest in his services. That came as a surprise to many observers predicting Babcock would be chased by at least half-a-dozen teams.
Babcock initiating talks with the Sharks suggests he’s keen to move on from the Red Wings. He also seems cool to the notion of signing with rebuilding clubs like the Leafs and Sabres. The Blues’ reported interest implies they’re ready to part ways with Hitchcock if a better option can be found. Given the list of suitors, I’d put the Sharks and Blues ahead of the Leafs and Sabres. At least we won’t have to wait long for this drama to be resolved.