Babcock's options dwindle as decision nears
Mike Babcock's coaching options are dwindling.
The Flyers are out, having hired Dave Hakstol on Monday.
The Oilers are likely off the list as they zero in on Todd McLellan.
So that leaves ...
The Sabres, Maple Leafs and Sharks.
The Blues could be posting a help wanted sign — Ken Hitchcock and team officials are talking about the possibility of the coach not returning.
And then there's the Red Wings, who have given Babcock until Friday to make a decision. Babcock's contract with the Red Wings runs through June 30.
Babcock is scheduled to talk with general manager Ken Holland Tuesday, and the coach said last week he'd make a decision about his future maybe as early as Wednesday.
The Flyers were expected to pursue Babcock, but made the surprising choice to name Hakstol, going away from their normally big-name hirings.
The Oilers were expected to be a good fit for Babcock, who is from western Canada and still has a summer home in the region. But they seemed to have little to no interest in Babcock, opting to chase Babcock's former Red Wings assistant, fired Sharks coach McLellan.
A look at the coaching options for Mike Babcock:
Sabres owner Terry Pegula could offering up to $5 million per season, and they own the second overall pick in the draft (likely Jack Eichel).
But the Sabres appear to be several years away from seriously contending for the Stanley Cup, which could be too long for the ultra-competitive Babcock.
The Red Wings could be Babcock's best option with a solid nucleus (Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, Niklas Kronwall) and a promising group of young players on the roster and in the farm system.
The Red Wings will be aggressive financially, willing to make Babcock the highest paid coach in the NHL (Chicago's Joel Quenneville is at $2.95 million, Babcock is at $2 million),.
Babcock's family also is known to prefer Metro Detroit.
The Sharks and Babcock reportedly will talk, according to CSN Bay Area, although when is unclear.
With an aging roster and not enough elite players, the Sharks — also under some financial constraints — aren't likely to be high on Babcock's preferred list.
The Maple Leafs have incredible financial resources and a president who played for Babcock (Brendan Shanahan).
But their roster is lackluster, and the farm system doesn't offer much immediate help. With little hope of a Stanley Cup in the immediate future, and under the intense glare of the biggest media spotlight in the NHL, Babcock isn't likely to land in Toronto.