McKenzie: Babcock Sweepstakes a Three Team Race Between Toronto, Buffalo, and Detroit

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In his Friday radio spot on TSN 1260 in Edmonton, Bob McKenzie dropped some of his knowledge on the Babcock situation. Apparently there hasn’t been too much interest in speaking to Babcock, and the only teams that have expressed interest are the Sabres and the Maple Leafs. 

“Funny thing has happened here. The Mike Babcock frenzy has been limited to the Sabres and The Maple Leafs. For the time being those are the only teams that approached the Red Wings. Things could change in a minute, and Philadelphia could ask for permission to speak as well.”

Certainly this a thinner herd than the one expected to include the Sharks, Flyers, Canadiens, and half the other teams in the league, but also certainly increases the possibility that Cathal Kelly will realize his dream of seeing a thinner version of Randy Carlyle behind the Leafs bench.

McKenzie went on to speculate that this may make it more likely that Babcock is considering a return to Detroit, as Toronto and Buffalo are early in their rebuilding process, and might not be appealing landing spots for Babcock. 

Some confirmation of the thinner herd in the Babcock sweepstakes came in the form of Marc Bergevin’s season ending press conference, where he hilariously committed himself to another season of Michel Therrien coaching the Habs.

With the Oilers likely finalizing with Todd McLellan in the near future, and the rumoured belief that Babcock would prefer to be in the East, the only surprising team not represented in these negotiations may be the Flyers. As for the Leafs going head to head with Sabres on Babcock, the familiarity with Shanahan, larger market, and greater autonomy may give Toronto an advantage. As for Detroit, Babcock knows better than anyone else that there isn’t much hockey left in the Red Wings core and in a couple of years the Leafs or Sabres could be favourable situations.

Nothing looks to imminent, and we may find that the Babcock situation is essentially on hold until after July 1st when teams can talk to Babcock without compensating Detroit. 

Here is the link to the audio from TSN (Bob’s segment starts around the 7:30 mark and starts talking Babcock at around 12 minutes). McKenzie also has a great story about how he created The Hockey News Draft Preview issue and the early TSN draft coverage. Also a shoutout to whoever lost the chair on the 401 that Bob McKenzie almost crashed into during the interview.