Report: Mike Babcock to become the next Blue Jackets head coach

Photo credit:© John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Mazzei
10 months ago
With the front office struggle in full swing, another former Leaf is projected to make his way back behind an NHL bench.
Darren Dreger is reporting that Mike Babcock is expected to become the next head coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets and the move will not become official until sometime after his contract with the Leafs expires on June 30th.
This would mark his return to the NHL after being fired by Toronto back in November 2019. He originally joined the Leafs in May 2015 by signing an eight-year contract that made him the highest-paying coach in NHL history.
During his four-and-a-half-season tenure with the Leafs, he compiled a record of 173-133-45 and only missed the playoffs once in his first season at the helm. All three of their playoff births throughout this stretch saw Toronto eliminated in the first round which included two consecutive losses to the Bruins. He was subsequently fired midway through the 2019-20 season and replaced by Sheldon Keefe after the team suffered through a six-game losing streak and amidst allegations of a toxic work environment and mental abuse.
Babcock was previously interviewed by the Capitals in 2020 when they needed a new coach, but the Leafs wouldn’t release him from his contract without the new team coming close to his yearly earnings of $6.25 million. He most recently coached the University of Saskatchewan’s men’s hockey team for two seasons before resigning from the position after the 2021-22 season ended.
Outside of Toronto, he captured the 2008 Stanley Cup with the Red Wings, won a pair of gold medals with Team Canada at the 2010 and 2014 Winter Olympic Games, and led Canada to gold at the 2004 IIHF World Hockey Championship.
Columbus had a coaching vacancy after letting go of Brad Larsen at the conclusion of the 2022-23 campaign.

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