Sportsnet insider Elliotte Friedman has changed his opinion on the future of Detroit Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock, who will be a free agent this summer if he doesn’t sign a contract extension with the Wings.
“Beginning of the year, I felt pretty certain he was not going to come back. I’m wavering on that. I think it’s much more likely he stays,” Friedman told Brady & Walker Friday morning on Sportsnet 590 The Fan. “There’s no question the feeling in Detroit has been more optimistic that he will stay.”
A big reason for that is the success of Red Wings this season. Babcock thrives off winning, and his team has done just that, going 17-6-6 and jockeying with the Tampa Bay Lightning for first place in the Atlantic Division.
“If you look at [the team’s] young players, it’s improving,” Friedman said. “Mike Babcock wants to win. I think he wants to be in a situation where he knows he has a chance to win.”
When a report broke Wednesday night that Babcock’s re-signing was imminent, Friedman reached out to a number of contacts.
Someone from the Red Wings called him back.
“He said to me, ‘We haven’t made a new offer, and I kinda don’t know where this is coming from.’ Then I got calls saying there was no offer given. I was a bit surprised,” Friedman said.
Babcock vehemently denied the report when he met with reporters Thursday.
“My belief is that the Red Wings made a contract offer before the season, probably for about four or five years, no doubt in the $3 million range [per season],” Friedman said. “It’s kinda been in Babcock’s hands.”