MacLean: Wings at real risk of losing Babcock

Mike Babcock is the new coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs. (Nam Y. Huh/AP)

Detroit Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock has one year remaining on his current contract and no extension in sight with the start of the season fast approaching.

The situation doesn’t sit right with Hockey Central’s Doug MacLean.

“There’s something fishy going on here,” MacLean said Wednesday on Brady and Walker on Sportsnet 590 The Fan.

MacLean suspects that unless Detroit GM Ken Holland rewards Babcock with an extension in the very near future, the coach will play out his current deal and consider moving on.

Should Babcock reach free agency, says MacLean, the Toronto Maple Leafs are widely touted as the frontrunner to make an offer.

MacLean also suggests that leading Toronto to the playoffs—and perhaps even a Stanley Cup—could be the ultimate challenge for Babcock, a Stanley Cup and Olympic champion.

Also on Wednesday, the Detroit Free Press reported Holland and Babcock met Tuesday to discuss an extension.

“We talked yesterday,” Holland told the Free Press. “I’m not sure when we are going to talk about it again, but we’re not going to talk about it any more (in the media). Once the season starts, we don’t need any more distractions. We’ve got enough distractions that will be created for a variety of reasons.

“He and I travel together. We can talk any time we want. It doesn’t do anybody good to talk about it in the press.”

This season will be Babcock’s 10th as Detroit’s head coach. Babcock won the Stanley Cup with the Red Wings in 2008 and has also led Team Canada to two men’s hockey gold medals (2010 and 2014).

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