Detroit top prospect Dylan Larkin leaves NCAA, signs NHL deal

Jared Clinton
Dylan Larkin (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)

It’s been an eventful few weeks for Detroit Red Wings prospect Dylan Larkin.

First, he suited up for 10 games for the United States at the World Championship in Czech Republic, helping the team capture a bronze medal at the tournament. Then he decided to leave the NCAA’s Michigan Wolverines to turn pro, signing a three-year, entry-level deal with the Red Wings. Now, he’s on his way to join the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins as they get set to take on the Utica Comets in the Western Conference final. Read more

Mike Babcock thanks Detroit Red Wings fans with full-page ad

Jared Clinton
Mike Babcock (Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)

Thursday afternoon, Mike Babcock was officially introduced to Toronto media as the new coach of the Maple Leafs. Friday morning, Red Wings fans in Detroit woke up to a full-page advertisement in the Detroit Free Press from their former coach, thanking them for all the cheers.

Babcock, who coached the Red Wings to 10 consecutive post-season appearances, two straight appearances in the Stanley Cup finals and one Stanley Cup victory, used the advertisement to give thanks to thanks for the support he and his family have received over their decade in Hockeytown and as one final goodbye to the fans they have grown to love during Babcock’s 10 years in Detroit. Read more

Leafs get their guy in Mike Babcock; now he needs his guys on the ice

Ryan Kennedy
Mike Babcock (David Cooper/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

When elite hockey writers began scanning flight plan websites, you knew this was going to be a different kind of circus. And when it was finally confirmed that the Toronto Maple Leafs had hired Mike Babcock as their new head coach, the corresponding media bomb went off. Less than 24 hours later, the former Detroit Red Wings bench boss has his first press conference out of the way and the table has been set…somewhat.

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Babcock to the Leafs a bad thing? Only if you don’t like winning

Adam Proteau
Mike Babcock (Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)

So, let me get this straight: Mike Babcock, one of the most respected, productive hockey coaches alive today and the most sought-after free agent this summer – player or otherwise – signs with the Toronto Maple Leafs, and this is a negative? The Maple Leafs use some of the millions they’ve saved under the NHL’s salary cap system and establish instant credibility in a dressing room that needed a full fumigation after the the toxic 2014-15 campaign, and team president Brendan Shanahan somehow screwed this hire up?

Sorry, not buying it. Read more

Top 10 coaches by points percentage: Where does Mike Babcock sit?

Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock

The Toronto Maple Leafs have been mired in the basement of the NHL for several seasons, but the hiring of coach Mike Babcock is giving Leafs Nation a reason for hope for a better and much brighter future.

While he hasn’t coached long enough to make the top 10 all-time wins list, Babcock does have the most of any coach to be behind the bench for fewer than 1,000 games. As such, he has managed to become one of the effective coaches in the history of the game.

In order to better represent who exactly the top 10 coaches by points percentage are, however, we have to set a limit of at least 100 games as an NHL bench boss. Otherwise some coaches, like Cap Raeder, who was the fill-in coach for the San Jose Sharks for one game – a victory – have near perfect winning percentages without really having control of the club.

Here are the top 10 best coaches by points percentage: Read more

Good luck with the Maple Leafs, Mike Babcock, you’re going to need it

Mike Babcock Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images)

After all of Brendan Shanahan’s bluster about doing things the right way, about conducting a proper, methodical and ultimately successful rebuild, the Toronto Maple Leafs went out and were your father’s Toronto Maple Leafs. They got the big fish, won the press conference and made a larger splash than Kiska, the killer whale at Marineland.

For $6.25 million a year for the next eight years, they got Mike Babcock, the best coach and the most sought-after free agent coach in the game’s history. He’s also a man who has won one Stanley Cup in the last decade with an organization that strives for excellence, and who has won Olympic gold medals for the country that produces the best players on the planet and designates more resources to the game than all the other countries combined. He’s a coach whose teams have lost in the first round two of the past three seasons despite having Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg on the roster.

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Toronto Maple Leafs sign coach Mike Babcock to eight-year, $50 million deal

Jared Clinton
Mike Babcock (Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images)

Mike Babcock has made his decision and will become the 30th coach in the history of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

According to TSN’s Darren Dreger, Babcock has signed an eight-year contract with the Maple Leafs, signalling the culmination of one of the greatest free agent coaching sagas the league has ever seen. While the specifics of the deal have not been released, Dreger reported the deal is worth in the neighborhood of $50 million, which would be an annual salary of $6.25 million.

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman has also reported that there may be an out-clause for Babcock after five years, which could mean the contract is front-loaded. Friedman also reports that Babcock will have some say in personnel decisions. Read more

UPDATED: Mike Babcock done interviewing, decision likely coming Wednesday

Mike Babcock (Getty Images)

Mike Babcock is inching closer to making his decision about where he will be coaching next season and his free agent saga could come to an end Wednesday.

The longtime Detroit Red Wings coach told MLive.com’s Ansar Khan that he has now talked to every team he is going to speak to about their coaching vacancies and that he is planning on talking things through with his family and Detroit GM Ken Holland one more time.

“Just going to re-visit everything one more time (with Holland),” Babcock told Khan. “I’ve talked to all the teams I’m talking to.” Read more