Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland knows his team will have a very good coach next season. He’s also pretty certain it won’t be Mike Babcock. That’s why after the Toronto Maple Leafs, Edmonton Oilers and a couple of other teams called about getting permission to speak with his soon-to-be-free-agent coach, Holland knew exactly what to do.
So last Sunday, he and Babcock took a drive to Grand Rapids to watch the Red Wings AHL team in the playoffs. Holland told Babcock teams had been calling and asked whether Babcock wanted to start negotiations on a new deal with the Wings or explore the market. And Babcock told Holland he wanted to see what was out there. Read more
Andrew Hammond is a 27-year-old goaltender who has never been, and likely will never be, this close to grabbing the brass ring. He’s coming off a mind-boggling season in which he led the Ottawa Senators charge to the playoffs. And in doing so, helped make the franchise millions of dollars in playoff revenues with three playoff home dates it otherwise would have never seen.
If Hammond were not a goaltender, he’d probably be able to walk into GM Bryan Murray’s office and demand a five-year deal worth a lot of money. The Senators would, of course, acquiesce because you can’t turn away an asset that has exhibited that kind of potential. If Hammond had scored 25 goals for the Senators instead of going 20-1-2 with a .941 save percentage, he’d likely do exactly that. And if Murray were unwilling to pay it, Hammond would easily find another team that would. Read more
In his first season of professional hockey, Detroit Red Wings prospect Anthony Mantha scored 15 goals and 33 points with the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins, and that’s after suffering a broken leg in training camp and missing nearly two months. As great as Mantha’s season may seem, however, Detroit senior vice president Jim Devellano isn’t happy with what he’s seen.
“Very, very, very disappointing,” Devellano told Fox Sports’ Keith Gave. “And I say that with a lot of sadness. Coming out of junior, we had such high hopes for him.” Read more
Wherever center Dylan Larkin ends up next season, some folks in Michigan are going to be happy – specifically which folks is still up in the air.
Nearly a week following the Detroit Red Wings ouster from the 2015 Stanley Cup playoffs, questions remain about their off-season plans. The future of coach Mike Babcock, whose contract will soon expire, dominates the conversation.
Speculation suggests he could move on to another NHL club. He’s been linked to the Toronto Maple Leafs, Edmonton Oilers, Buffalo Sabres, Philadelphia Flyers and San Jose Sharks. Babcock promises he won’t drag his feet deciding on his future.
Once the coaching situation is resolved, Wings GM Ken Holland will turn his attention to his roster needs. MLive.com’s Ansar Khan reports the Wings have over $56 million invested in 18 players for 2015-16. With the salary cap projected to rise from $69 million to perhaps $72 million, Holland has sufficient space to re-sign his key free agents and add veteran depth via trade or free agency. Read more
Could the Edmonton Oilers have interest in Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Dion Phaneuf? Sportsnet’s Damien Cox claims former Boston Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli had interest in the 30-year-old Phaneuf prior to this season’s trade deadline. With Chiarelli now in Edmonton, Cox speculates the Oilers could be suitors for the Leafs captain.
The Edmonton Journal’s David Staples disagrees, noting the Oilers could use Phaneuf’s skills on their blueline but not his lengthy and expensive contract. The rearguard has six years remaining on his deal at an annual cap hit of $7 million.
With several players (Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jordan Eberle, Mark Fayne, Benoit Pouliot) carrying expensive long-term deals, Staples notes adding Phaneuf would create a cap crunch for the Oilers in a few years when younger Oilers (Nail Yakupov, Justin Schultz, Darnell Nurse, Leon Draisaitl) will be seeking raises. Read more
Following Detroit’s Game 7 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning, Red Wings coach Mike Babcock told media that it was clear the current lineup is not as good as years past. For some fans, it caused concern that this was Babcock’s way of saying he’s on his way out, heading for greener pastures where there’s young talent that his coaching can mold and shape into perennial Cup contenders.
But maybe those concerns are a touch premature. After all, if you want to find a team with promising young talent coming down the pike, look no further than the Detroit Red Wings. Read more
Depending upon the whims of the management teams in Boston and St. Louis, we could be in for one of the most fascinating off-season games of coaching musical chairs we’ve seen in years – perhaps even ever.
With the Detroit Red Wings eliminated from the playoffs, the Mike Babcock Sweepstakes™ are about to begin. Todd McLellan is already on the market and Ken Hitchcock’s future is uncertain in St. Louis. Meanwhile, the new GM in Boston will have the opportunity to decide whether or not Claude Julien is going to be his head coach moving forward. Read more