In our roundup of the latest rumours and reports surrounding the NHL’s coaching carousel, a Mike Babcock decision is expected Wednesday, Dan Bylsma gets a thumbs-up to interview with the Sharks, and two assistants leave Patrick Roy.
May’s biggest off-ice storyline has finished speaking with the teams bidding for his services and will likely have reached a decision on where to take his coaching talents on Wednesday.
Free agent Mike Babcock told mlive.com that he will meet one more time with general manager Ken Holland Tuesday, discuss his 2015-16 plans with his family Tuesday evening and come to a decision.
“I’ve talked to all the teams I’m talking to,” Babcock told the site. “I learned a lot. I talked to lots of good people.
“I kept Kenny abreast the whole time. We’ll talk one more time [Tuesday] and then I’ll sit down with my family one more time [Tuesday] night and make a decision.”
The Maple Leafs, Sabres, Blues and Sharks have all reportedly spoken with the soon-to-be-highest-paid coach in the game.
If the 52-year-old Babcock opts to leave after 10 playoff seasons and a Stanley Cup victory in Detroit, AHL Grand Rapids Griffins coach Jeff Blashill is expected to replace him.
“My ultimate goal is to be head coach in the NHL someday,” Blashill told the Detroit Free Press Monday. “I knew that, to do that, at some point, I needed to be and wanted to go to the AHL to be a head coach.”
Two of Patrick Roy’s assistant coaches have parted ways with the Colorado Avalanche.
Defensive coach Andre Tourigny, described by The Denver Post as Roy’s right-hand man, and video coach Mario Duhamel will both be replaced for 2015-16.
According to an Avalanche spokesperson, via the Post, Tourigny resigned and Duhamel was granted permission to seek another opportunity.
Assistant coach Tim Army remains under Roy; he is under contract for 2015-16.
Philadelphia Flyers GM Ron Hextall, reportedly in the bidding for Babcock’s services, went off the board and hired Dave Hakstol to replace Craig Berube Monday.
The 46-year-old Hakstol amassed an impressive NCAA resume at the University of North Dakota, with a .654 winning percentage and seven Frozen Four appearances over 11 seasons.
— The Hockey Gods! (@HockeyGods) May 18, 2015
According to the Toronto Star source, the Maple Leafs were out of the running for Babcock. (But new reports Wednesday morning, including one from Sportsnet’s Damien Cox, suggested Toronto was making a late pitch.)
A source told the newspaper that Babcock is leaning toward re-signing a short-term contract with the Red Wings.
Apparently losing out on both McLellan and Babcock, Toronto will approach Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds coach Sheldon Keefe, whom assistant GM Kyle Dubas knows well, to discuss a fit with either the big club or the AHL’s Toronto Marlies.
In addition to speaking with Babcock, the San Jose Sharks have been granted permission to speak with Dan Bylsma, who was fired from the Pittsburgh Penguins a year ago.
According to ESPN’s Craig Custance, Bylsma turned down two coaching jobs before this season. Neither team was identified.
Free agent Todd McLellan — the man who led Team Canada to gold at the IIHF World Championship and saw the offensive creativity of Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle up-close for 10 games — was introduced as head coach of the Edmonton Oilers Tuesday afternoon.
McLellan has gone on record saying that he wants to bring assistant coach Jay Woodcroft with him.
The big question: Where does that leave well-respected interim coach Todd Nelson? Does he hang on as an assistant, return to the AHL, or look for an NHL gig elsewhere?
Three full weeks have passed since the St. Louis Blues and Ken Hitchcock announced they’d take some time to contemplate whether they would take another stab at the Cup next year.
Cutting through the crickets were multiple reports that Babcock spoke with the Blues about the position. Were the Blues just doing their due diligence? Does it still sound like, as the New York Post‘s Larry Brooks reported last week, Hitchcock will re-up with St. Louis after all?
While fired head coach Ted Nolan is reportedly speaking to the Vancouver Giants about their vacancy, the Sabres are believed to have made one of the more financially rewarding pitches to Babcock.
In fact, the Associate Press reported Tuesday that the two sides were in the midst of contract negotiations.