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- Former Detroit Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock agreed to a lucrative eight-year, $50 million contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs on /4/20.
Former Detroit Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock has agreed to a lucrative eight-year, $50 million contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Maple Leafs, Buffalo Sabres and Detroit Red Wings were the teams in the running for Babcock’s services, per Dreger. He coached the Red Wings for 10 seasons before becoming a sought-after coaching free agent.
Because of a pre-existing condition Detroit has in Babcock’s previous contract, Toronto now owes the Red Wings a third-round pick within the next three years, per TSN. Babcock earned $2 million per season in that four-year deal, according to The Detroit Free Press.
Dreger says the Red Wings were believed to have dangled a $20 million, five-year contract to Babcock.
Outgoing Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment CEO and president Tim Leiweke told Dreger he gives credit to Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan for locking up Babcock:
“That’s all Shanny, he did it. I know there were people that ultimately questioned whether or not Brendan would come here and ultimately be a great president. I think he today is a great president.
“You have to give him a lot of credit. This is a vision he had early on.
“When we were aggressive at going out and trying to convince Shanny to come here and take this on, I know what he was capable of. We were very comfortable that he was going to turn it into a great organization. I think this is a step toward that vision and goal.”
Shanahan continues to make sweeping changes in the Toronto organization. On April 12, he fired Maple Leafs general manager Dave Nonis, interim head coach Peter Horachek, assistant coaches Steve Spott and Chris Dennis and goaltending coach Rick St. Croix.
Not only that, Dreger also says Shanahan might even trade Maple Leafs players Dion Phaneuf and Phil Kessel during the offseason.
Babcock, who has missed the playoffs just once in 12 seasons, will now try to turn the fortunes of the Maple Leafs around. Toronto has missed nine of the last 10 postseasons. Before he agreed to the Toronto deal, he was a key reason why the Red Wings made the playoffs for the 24th straight year, per TSN.
Babcock leaves Detroit as the winningest coach in franchise history, finishing with a 458-223-105 record, per the Maple Leafs’ official website.
He also the Red Wings to the Stanley Cup trophy in 2008. He is the only coach to have won Olympic (2010, 2014), World (2004) and Stanley Cup titles, per TSN.
Prior to joining the Red Wings, Babcock was the head coach of the then-Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, per the Maple Leafs’ official website. He led Anaheim to its very first Stanley Cup Finals appearance in his first year as head coach.
As an NHL head coach, Babcock has been to the Stanley Cup Finals three times and the Western Conference Finals four times, per the Maple Leafs’ official webite.
Babcock hopes to lead the Maple Leafs to their first Stanley Cup title since 1967.
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