Toronto Maple Leafs Hire Mike Babcock as New Head Coach


Toronto Maple Leafs Hire Mike Babcock as New Head Coach

Dec 27, 2014; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; Detroit Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock (R) speaks to his players from behind the bench during the third period against the Ottawa Senators at the Canadian Tire Centre. The Red Wings won 3-2 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

They may have missed out on Connor McDavid but the Toronto Maple Leafs were not prepared to lose out on the biggest free agent coach this summer. It was made official today that the Leafs and former Detroit Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock have agreed to a long-term contract.

After the Leafs were reportedly out of the running for Babcock’s services with the Buffalo Sabres and Red Wings being the frontrunners. Then this morning Bob McKenzie and Aaron Ward from TSN were getting word that neither of those teams were in on Babcock.

Then it became official in the afternoon when several news outlets confirmed that Babcock had indeed chose the Leafs.

Obviously many were wondering what it would cost to bring Babcock to Toronto and it did not take long until the media found the contract details.

Nov 2, 2014; Buffalo, NY, USA; Detroit Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock watches play from behind the bench during the game against the Buffalo Sabres during the first period at First Niagara Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

That is a big deal for the Leafs and Babcock, especially since it is one of the rare occasions where the contract and salary details of a coach’s contract is out in the open.

Now, it is a lot of money, especially in the first few years. But considering the amount of work that Babcock will have to do in Toronto it is justified. Obviously he knows that it will take time for the Leafs to become a contender, so the money is definitely a sweetener for Babcock.

The Leafs will also have to give up a third round pick as compensation for Babcock which was a part of the NHL’s new rules of bringing a coach or executive under contract with another team in order to come to their team.

With the Red Wings Babcock had a 458-223-105 record  in 786 regular season games and won a Stanley Cup in 2008. He has two Olympic Gold Medals as the head coach of Team Canada and is the only coach in hockey’s Triple Gold Club: an honour bestowed upon individuals who have won Olympic (2010, 2014), World (2004) and Stanley Cup (2008) championships. Babcock also coached Canada to World Junior gold in 1997.

Obviously the next step for the Leafs will probably be finding a new GM and making some player movements. There were some reports suggesting that Mark Hunter could get the GM job but that still remains to be seen.

With Babcock coming to Toronto there will be changes made, especially with the financial commitment to him. So if I am Phil Kessel, Dion Phaneuf, Nazem Kadri, Tyler Bozak, Joffrey Lupul and many more, get used to media reports about trades coming. This just goes to show how far Brendan Shanahan is willing to go to get the Leafs back on track.

Next: Twitter Timeline of How Mike Babcock Landed in Toronto