We knew free agent Mike Babcock would become the highest-paid coach in the National Hockey League. What we didn’t know was just how high he’d raise the bar for the coaching fraternity.
Upon inking a reported eight-year, $50-million deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs Wednesday, Babcock supplants Edmonton’s Todd McLellan as hockey’s biggest annual earner behind the bench — a position held last week by Chicago’s Joel Quenneville.
Only two Toronto players, captain Dion Phaneuf ($7 million average annual value) and sniper Phil Kessel ($8 million AAV) will earn more in 2015-16 than their new coach.
Here is how Babcock’s new contract, which pays the man an average of $6.25 million per year, stacks up against the the NHL’s players and his fellow coaching brethren.
Even David Clarkson thinks that Mike Babcock signed an insane contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
— The Royal Half (@theroyalhalf) May 20, 2015
Babcock's new salary ranks 45th compared to the cap hits of NHL players (stats via NHL Numbers):
1. Patrick Kane, $10.5M
1. Jonathan Toews, $10.5M
3. Alex Ovechkin, $9.538M
4. Evgeni Malkin, $9.5M
5. P.K. Subban, $9M
6. Sidney Crosby, $8.7M
7. Corey Perry, $8.625M
8. Henrik Lundqvist, $8.5M
9. Claude Giroux, $8.275M
10. Ryan Getzlaf, $8.25M
39. Carey Price, Patrice Bergeron, Alex Pietrangelo, Erik Karlsson, Thomas Vanek (tie), $6.5M
44. Cam Ward, $6.3M
45. Mike Babcock, $6.25M
46. Henrik Zetterberg, $6.083M
47. Corey Crawford, Ryan O'Reilly, Milan Lucic, Jordan Staal, Cory Schneider, Joe Pavelski, Johnny Boychuk, Matt Duchene, Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Logan Couture, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Ryan Miller (tie), $6M
59. Ben Bishop, $5.95M
Mike Babcock could probably buy out Dion Phaneuf's contract with his salary.
— Seth Rorabaugh (@emptynetters) May 20, 2015
Babcock's salary ranks No. 1 among active NHL head coaches, leaving his peers in the dust:
1. Mike Babcock, $6.25M
2. Todd McLellan, $3M
3. Joel Quenneville, $2.75M
4. Claude Julien $2.5M
5. Darryl Sutter, $2M
5. Michel Therrien, $2M
5. Alain Vigneault, $2M
5. Peter Laviolette, $2M
5. Lindy Ruff, $2M
In 1979, #Sabres lured 5-time Cup champion Scotty Bowman with a yearly salary of $250,000 to become their GM ($810K in 2015 $).
— Sportsnet Stats (@SNstats) May 20, 2015
Babcock's salary still trails that of the richest head-coaching deals of North America's other major sports but the NHL has now leapfrogged Major League Baseball in this ladder:
NBA: Gregg Popovich, San Antonio Spurs, $11M (5 championships)
NCAAB: Mike Krzyzewski, Duke, $9.7M (5 championships)
NFL: (tie) Sean Payton, New Orleans Saints; Pete Carroll, Seattle Seahawks, $8M (1 championship each)
NCAAF: Nick Saban, Alabama, $7.16M (4 championships)
NHL: Mike Babcock, Toronto Maple Leafs, $6.25M (1 championship)
MLB: (tie) Mike Scioscia, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim; Joe Maddon, Chicago Cubs, $5M (1 championship for Scioscia; none for Maddon)