Player News - Maple Leafs

Date: Team: Pos:

Thre is some talk that it may be better for new Maple Leaf coach Mike Babcock to work with Phil Kessel this season rather than trade him before the campaign starts.

Damian Cox of the Toronto Star quite rightly points out that Kessel's trade value is at an all-time low. He also reminds us that Babcock has had some success with challenging and/or quirky-type players in the past. If Babcock can get the best out of Kessel, which could be considerable, then it might be better for the Buds to keep their inconsistent star until his value increases for trade or he is actually able to help the club as a better two-way player.
May 23 - 10:30 AM

Jim Hiller will move with Mike Babcock to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Hiller served as an assistant coach under Babcock with the Detroit Red Wings in 2014-15 and was credited with turning around Detroit's power play. The Red Wings went from converting on 17.7% of their opportunities with the man advantage in 2013-14 to 23.8% this season. Toronto meanwhile finished near the bottom of the league in 2014-15 with a 15.9% power-play success rate.
May 22 - 6:34 PM

Toronto introduced Mike Babcock as the organization's 30th head coach in franchise history.

He signed a lucrative eight-year, $50 million contract with the Maple Leafs and he's excited for the challenge of turning the team around. "If you think there's no pain coming, there's pain coming," he warned at the press conference. "We need to put Canada's team back on the map." Babcock and the Leafs' brain trust appear to share the same vision that the team will be patient and develop properly, which is something the fans have been waiting for a while.
May 21 - 12:57 PM

The Toronto Maple Leafs will give the Detroit Red Wings a third-round pick in one of the next three drafts.

That's compensation for signing head coach Mike Babcock. The Leafs agreed to those terms when they decided to reach out to Babcock while he was still under contract with the Red Wings. His deal with Detroit scheduled to expire this summer, but given the rush to hire him, Babcock was never going to last that long.
May 20 - 5:29 PM

Mike Babcock has signed a contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The contract is reportedly worth about $50 million over eight years, according to Darren Dreger. That's an unprecedented sum of money for an NHL head coach and is likely the result of the reported bidding war that developed between Toronto and Buffalo. It's worth noting though that at one point it sounded like the Sabres had a similar offer on the table. Which is surprising if true because Toronto is a long-term project and one that's coming off of several false starts. The Maple Leafs' culture is very much in question and it's management is still largely an unknown as its still operating without a general manager. While this is an obvious financial win for Babcock, he's taking a big risk from a reputation perspective. If Toronto is successful then Babcock will be a hero in the NHL's biggest market. If the Leafs stumbles then the Toronto fanbase might turn on him. That all being said, it's hard not to see this as anything other than a big win for Toronto.
May 20 - 2:14 PM

The Buffalo Sabres and Detroit Red Wings are out of the running, according to TSN's Aaron Ward and Bob McKenzie.

McKenzie said that narrows the list of possible destinations down to St. Louis, Toronto, and San Jose. However, a recent report from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch said the Blues wouldn't end up with Babcock either. There's already been a few surprises in the Babcock sweepstakes, but at this point it sounds like Toronto is his most likely destination.
May 20 - 12:54 PM

St. Louis is reportedly out of the running for Mike Babcock's services.

The Blues weren't regarded as a frontrunner to begin with, so this isn't a big surprise. Toronto and Buffalo have gotten into a bidding war for Babcock while Detroit's best offer is believed to be a five-year, $20 million deal. Buffalo's offer is reportedly in the $50 million range and it wouldn't be surprising if Toronto was in that ballpark too.
May 20 - 11:34 AM

The Toronto Maple Leafs and Buffalo Sabres are reportedly in a bidding war for coach Mike Babcock.

It previously sounded like the odds were heavily stacked in favor of Babcock picking Buffalo or Detroit over Toronto, so we'll have to see if that proves to be the case. The Red Wings have also reportedly put in their final offer, which was a five-year, $20 million contract. Based on previous reports, Buffalo's deal, if not Toronto's as well, should blow that out of the water.
May 20 - 11:14 AM

Detroit is reportedly offering Mike Babcock an extension worth $3.25 million per season.

Meanwhile Buffalo is believed to be offering a roughly $50 million contract, although it's not clear how many years that's spread over. While money isn't the only thing Babcock will consider, it sounds like the Sabres have a huge edge in that regard. Either way, Babcock is expected to announce his decision in the not too distant future.
May 20 - 10:21 AM

Although Mike Babcock reportedly entered contract negotiations with the Buffalo Sabres, he's still undecided.

Babcock will likely either sign with Buffalo or decide to stick with Detroit. If he does choose Buffalo, he'll reportedly be inking a contract in the $50 million range, per WGR550's Matthew Coller. That's likely over a long period of time, but it wouldn't be surprising if that level of security is very appealing to Babcock. A report from Nick Kypreos a little over a week ago suggested that there were teams that might be willing to offer Babcock as much as $5 million annually and Detroit would likely find itself being outbid if that happened. In other words, it wouldn't be surprising if Detroit's offer is less substantial.
May 19 - 5:23 PM

Mike Babcock is reportedly in contract talks with the Buffalo Sabres.

That doesn't necessarily mean that Babcock won't still re-sign with Detroit, but at this point it would be surprising if he ended up anywhere other than one of those two destinations. In other words, you can consider Toronto, San Jose, and St. Louis to be long shot destinations. Babcock is a very highly regarded coach that's shown he can both get the most out of young players and convince star veterans to buy into his system. Getting him would be a big help to the Sabres as they look to transition out of their rebuilding phase.
Source: NBC Sports
May 19 - 4:48 PM

The Toronto Maple Leafs will not keep Gord Dineen on as the AHL Marlies' head coach.

Dineen has been given the option to stay as an associate coach though. This is the latest move in Toronto's attempt to dramatically remake the franchise from a management and front office perspective. It wouldn't be surprising to see Toronto also make some major roster moves too over the summer.
May 19 - 3:58 PM

If Mike Babcock decides to leave Detroit, it will reportedly most likely be to join the Buffalo Sabres.

Babcock is expected to come to a final decision in the near future. The Buffalo Sabres have a lot of promise, especially given that they control the second overall pick in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, which would go to Jack Eichel. However, Buffalo needs a lot of work as well, whereas Detroit is in a better position to compete for a playoff spot next season. In addition to Buffalo and Detroit, Babcock has also been linked to San Jose, St. Louis, and Toronto.
May 19 - 9:31 AM

Mike Babcock will reportedly speak with the San Jose Sharks this week, according to hockey insider Pierre LeBrun. reported Sunday that Babcock initiated contact with the Sharks. Word is that he would like to make a decision on his future by Wednesday, but his contract with the Red Wings doesn't expire until June 30. If he leaves Detroit then a third-round pick has to be sent to the Wings within the next three years as compensation.
May 18 - 3:02 PM

The St. Louis Blues have reportedly shown interest in hiring Mike Babcock.

The Blues are still deciding if they will bring current coach Ken Hitchcock back after another early playoff exit. St. Louis GM Doug Armstrong reportedly met with Babcock while the two were in the Czech Republic for the World Hockey Championship. The San Jose Sharks are also scheduling a meeting with Babcock this week. Expect Babcock to make a decision in the near future.
May 17 - 8:23 PM

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