The Edmonton Oilers are back to their old ways — keeping it all within the Old Boys Club family. Hiring Ken Holland to be their next general manager comes with big plans for the struggling club, is reuniting with Mike Babcock one of them?
The two know each other fondly, obviously from their glory days in the Detroit Red Wings organization. But is there any realistic scenario that sees Babcock heading to Edmonton and taking over that cursed position?
Rumours are swirling about what Holland might want in a coach, but it makes logical sense that in his new position he would like a familiar face working for him. Reconnecting and establishing that old trust that was in Detroit is probably the most secure decision he could make.
According to David Staples — I know, I know — Dave Tippett, who was seen as a major candidate for the Oilers job, is now out of the running according to his trusted sources. As of now, there are no coaches that have been confirmed by anyone that are being considered for the job, so we should just speculate.
All of this lines up with what is currently going on with the Leafs.
— NHL Network (@NHLNetwork) May 4, 2019
Previously thought of a far-fetched idea might end up being more realistic. As speculated by Elliotte Friedman earlier this week, Babcock would be returning to be the head coach in Toronto, but now that there has been more movement around the front offices of various teams, it seems more possible.
With some more reliable information, Bob McKenzie speculated on TSN Edmonton Monday morning that he could personally see Ken Holland asking permission for Babcock. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.
Although nothing is concrete for what’s going on behind closed doors, Mark Spector discussed the possibility of Ken Holland asking the Leafs permission to talk to Babcock about the possibility of joining him in Edmonton as well. This potential scenario is already getting spread around Oilers media and each passing day it seems more realistic.
After the Game 7 disappointment that highlighted the key philosophical differences between Kyle Dubas and Babcock, the chances that we would see a new head coach behind the bench for the Leafs has risen. It has become more clear that the connection between coach and general manager should be more in-tact for this team to find success — Dubas may make the decision sooner rather than later and save everyone some time.
This whole scenario just seems too likely to disregard. Mike Babcock leaves the forward-thinking organization that he clearly doesn’t fit in with and heads to the most old-school team in the entire league. Matching up perfectly with what he wants to be in a team, but he also has the best player on the planet to hide his faults.
What already seemed like a possibility for him to just straight-up leave the Leafs organization, Babcock at least has a destination to go now that will be even more justifiable to the public.
Who wouldn’t leave a team constantly underperforming for a team in shambles but with the greatest player in multiple generations?
All of these small narratives are intertwined to really lead to Babcock eventually leaving this team. If the Leafs have even a remotely similar season next year, then there is no reason for the coach to stay to the end of his contract. Babcock’s salary is no real reason to keep him around, therefore securing the likelihood of him being let go within the year.
As the offseason approaches and more moves will be made on this gigantic summer for the Leafs, it just feels increasingly likely that Babcock will be in charge of a different team by training camp and the Oilers just fit too well.
The reported mismatch ideology between Dubas and Babcock surely won’t be present in Edmonton. Holland has successful history with Babcock, winning in 2008 and having multiple 100-point seasons in Detroit, it would make sense why he would want him in Edmonton.
They can ride off into the sunset together knowing that they will surround Connor McDavid with big grinders signed to long-term contracts. A match made in heaven.