Toronto Maple Leafs: Search for General Manager and Head Coach Heating Up

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Coaching List Dominated By One Name

Obviously, Mike Babcock has been the most talked about free agent coach, given his work with the Detroit Red Wings and Team Canada. Recent reports have said the Leafs have signed off on giving up a draft pick to the Red Wings, if Babcock signs with them. The Buffalo Sabres, San Jose Sharks and obviously the Red Wings are reported to be other teams that have made offers to Babcock.

Feb 21, 2015; Dallas, TX, USA; Detroit Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock watches his team warm up prior to the game between the Dallas Stars and the Red Wings during the first period at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Now if the Leafs do get Babcock to sign with them, it would be a monumental signing for the team. However, many are not anticipating Babcock signing with the Leafs and there have been reports of other potential candidates being discussed.

One is Guy Boucher, who last coached in the NHL with the Lightning and is currently coaching in the Swiss National League. Then there is Todd McLellan, who may be on his way to the Edmonton Oilers. Jeff Blashill’s future could be in question if Babcock stays in Detroit. Then an interesting development took place, when it was reported by Sportsnet that the Leafs are planning to talk with Sheldon Keefe, who is coaching in the OHL with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. However, it is expected that Keefe will be considered for the Toronto Marlies, rather than the top job. It will be interesting to see if Keefe comes to Toronto, considering his relationship with Dubas, who runs the Marlies.

While there are some coaches available now, the Leafs will most likely wait to see what Babcock has decided to do. When that happens, the Leafs will either move on or have one less vacancy to fill. In the mean time, the Leafs will continue to go through the process of searching for a coach. Hopefully it is a candidate that better understands the team and its situation than past coaches.

Dec 31, 2013; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Dave Nonis at a press conference during practice the day before the Winter Classic hockey game against the Detroit Red Wings at Michigan Stadium. Phaneuf signed a 7-year contract extension with the Maple Leafs. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

What is important to remember is that while these candidates are all quality names, they will be in high demand. As such, the Leafs will have to be quick and not wait around too long, because they may lose the person that fits their needs. It is a delicate decision for the Leafs to make, considering their recent history. The fact this latest batch of candidates have been through similar situations before, is an added bonus. In the past, too many times GM and coaches have said they had no idea what went wrong here, which is even more frustrating for fans to hear. So far, the potential candidates fit the bill and hopefully they are ready for the challenge that lies ahead, especially with decisions regarding current players on the roster.

Next: Leafs and Sabres file compensation for Mike Babcock.