Flyers Rumors: Mike Babcock or Bust?


With the NHL Playoffs in full swing, some of the most prominent storylines in hockey have to do with teams and individuals currently not involved in the sport’s postseason tournament. Aside from wunderkind and future Oiler Connor McDavid, no individual has been talked about more than Mike Babcock. Should the longtime Red Wings coach decide not to return to the bench in Detroit, he will be among the most sought after ‘free agents’ in an offseason where multiple franchises are in need of his services.

Though an argument could be made for a few other teams, the Flyers have to be toward the top of the list of potential destinations for Babcock. Seeing as any team in need of a new coach is not without its flaws, Philadelphia still has a relatively attractive pitch to whomever replaces Craig Berube.

The Flyers boast a pair of superstar-caliber talents in Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek to go along with a handful of promising, albeit somewhat underachieving forwards to go along with them. Oddly enough, Goaltender Steve Mason is perhaps the best option out of all the possible destinations for a coach who’s dealt with issues in that department in recent years. For the first time in what seems like forever, the Flyers’ farm system is stockpiled with a crop of defenseman than some outlets rank as the best among NHL franchises. Though they do not hold the first or second overall pick in the upcoming draft, the Flyers do own seven picks over the first four rounds including the seventh overall selection in what is considered one of the best drafts in years.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, team owner and CEO Ed Snider will almost certainly not be outbid by any sort opposition. Some have speculated that Babcock will hit ‘free agency’ if for no other reason than to hike up the going rate for top-end coaching talent around the NHL the way other sports have already done for their respective coaches.

It’s quite possible that Babcock will leave all his potential suitors waiting in the wings (no pun intended) and finish out his career in Detroit. He recently mentioned that he will mull the decision over for a stretch of days before providing Red Wings GM Ken Holland with a definitive stance on his intentions. According to a source cited in an article by’s Randy Miller, the Flyers will be putting all of their chips in that basket should Babcock decide to test the waters.

"Flyers general manager Ron Hextall’s search for a new head coach is just kicking into high gear and it’s already come to this:He really, really wants Mike Babcock.And if Babcock stays with the Detroit Red Wings for an 11th season or opts to use his free agent status to go elsewhere, then it’s pretty much back to square one for the Flyers, someone with knowledge of management’s plans told NJ Advance Media."

Take the report for what it’s worth. It does not take a genius to link Babcock’s potential vacancy to the Flyers heightened interest. That being said, there are a handful of other coaching candidates on the open market and, should the ‘courtship’ of Babcock drag out, the Flyers could miss out on some of the top names if they hold out for their top target and miss. Ron Hextall has said he wants a new coach in place by the time the NHL Draft start on June 26th. One would have to imagine that, if Babcock leaves Detroit, we’ll hear quite a bit more about just how desperate the Flyers are to land the top name on the coaching market.

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