Updates on Mike Babcock, plus the latest on Patrik Elias, Alex Galchenyuk, Kerby Rychel and more. 

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 Babcock decision expected today.

MLIVE.COM: Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock is expected to reach a decision today on his future plans.  The Wings have made several offers to re-sign Babcock, including a four-year contract worth $3.25 million annually.

THE BUFFALO NEWS: Sources yesterday claimed Babcock was in negotiations with the Buffalo Sabres, who are offering up a deal worth $5 million per season.

THE DETROIT NEWS: TSN analyst Bob McKenzie reports Babcock is definitely not joining the Toronto Maple Leafs.

STLTODAY.COM: The St. Louis Blues are considered a long shot to land Babcock.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Babcock’s choices are apparently down to the Wings and Sabres, with him apparently leaning toward the latter. If reports are accurate, we’ll find out later today what his decision will be. I realize some readers find rumors over Babcock’s future to be boring, but given the lack of genuine player trade and free agent speculation combined with the growing hype over Babcock’s choice, it’s not something to be ignored. Besides, unlike most trade and free agent rumors, this one isn’t going to drag on throughout the offseason.  

Has Patrik Elias played his last game for the Devils?

Has Patrik Elias played his last game for the Devils?

 Update on Patrik Elias.

NORTHJERSEY.COM: Tom Gulitti reports long-time New Jersey Devils center Patrik Elias remains hopeful of finishing the final year of his contract with the Devils, but said he will understand if new GM Ray Shero wants to trade him. At this point, however, Elias doesn’t know what Shero’s plans are or where he fits in them. The 39-year-old also has a full no-movement clause, giving him say over potential trade destinations.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Shero could call around to see if there’s interest in Elias. Given the latter’s age, contract and movement clause, he could still end up finishing his career as a Devil.

Highlights from Friedman’s latest “30 Thoughts.”

SPORTSNET: In his latest “30 Thoughts” column, Elliotte Friedman noted this interesting bit regarding salary arbitration:

“The average salary was $2,803,043, an 8.57 per cent increase over $2,581,827 from 2013-14. If a team wants to take a player to “cutdown” arbitration, that player must have made at least $1,899,943 this past year.This process allows teams to cut a player’s salary to 85 per cent of the previous season’s. Vancouver did this with Mason Raymond in 2012. And, teams can walkaway from any salary arbitration award of larger than $3,799,887 — as long as the player elected to go this route. Teams cannot walkaway from any award if it chose arbitration.”

The Colorado Avalanche will try to find a suitable defense partner for Erik Johnson this summer.

Friedman wouldn’t be surprised if the Montreal Canadiens could be among the teams interested in Columbus Blue Jackets forward Kerby Rychel. The Jackets have plenty of young forwards and are looking for defensemen. Rychel is 20 and only two years removed from being a first-round pick. Despite being sidelined by concussion, he’s reportedly clear of symptoms.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I realize the salary arbitration info isn’t a trade or free agent rumor, but it is worth remembering when the arbitration period begins this summer…Perhaps the Avs are seeking a skilled stay-at-home blueliner to put on Johnson’s line? They were among the worst teams defensively this season…If the Canadiens are interested in Rychel, maybe they offer up Tom Gilbert? He has a year left on his contract worth $2.8 million. The Habs could try to clear some cap space to make a serious effort at re-signing Jeff Petry. 

Galchenyuk to the KHL?

Chempionat.com (via Habs Eyes On The Prize): recently claimed a source close to Montreal Canadiens winger Alex Galchenyuk said the restricted free agent is close to continuing his professional career in the KHL.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Not happening, for the reasons stated in the Eyes on the Prize blog.