Toronto Maple Leafs Hire Mike Babcock As New Head Coach
Despite being a storied franchise, the Toronto Maple Leafs have been absolutely terrible over the last decade. Though they have not won the Stanley Cup since 1967, they at least were always in contention before 2005.
Since then, they have only made the playoffs one time in the last ten years, with four different head coaches in that time span. And though Randy Carlyle led them to that sole playoff berth, he has failed to live up to previous expectations: he won a Cup in the 2006-07 season as the Anaheim Ducks’ head coach. Therefore, after four years and an average 91-78-19 record, they let him go.
On the other hand, Mike Babcock has been the golden boy of the league. The long time Red Wings head coach, has never missed a playoff during his tenure in Detroit, amassing a fantastic 458-223-105 record with 12 playoff series wins and two Presidents’ Trophies. Furthermore, he won the Stanley Cup in 2007-8 and nearly repeated the following year, losing to the Pittsburgh Penguins in a devastating game seven.
Despite Babcock’s Red Wings playing well in the playoffs, forcing an impressive game seven against the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round, many analysts speculated about his departure. And though he has been fielding offers from teams like the San Jose Sharks and Buffalo Sabres, his extension discussion with Detroit’s GM Ken Holland created hope for his return.
However, a massive eight-year $50 million contract offer from Toronto forced his hand, making him by far the highest paid coach in the league.
On top of this, the Leafs have to give the Red Wings a third round pick within the next three years for stealing Babcock away. As for Detroit, speculations point towards them hiring AHL coach Jeff Blashill.