Mike Babcock's return to the National Hockey League appears to be imminent

Published May 16, 2023 at 7:40 PM

Mike Babcock has been out of the National Hockey League for nearly three-and-a-half years now, but it appears that his return behind the bench could be imminent.

According to Pierre LeBrun of TSN and The Athletic, Mike Babcock has interviewed with the Columbus Blue Jackets, with Aaron Portzline reporting that General Manager Jarmo Kekalainen wants to have a new Head Coach in place sooner rather than later.

"Pascal Vincent is an internal candidate who has interviewed, and I'm told the Jackets have also spoken with veteran free agents Peter Laviolette and Mike Babcock." LeBrun said.

The Blue Jackets are reportedly not the only team that are seeking the services of Babcock. According to Vince Z. Mercogliano of USA Today Sports, The New York Rangers have been doing their homework on the Stanley Cup-winning Head Coach. It's unclear at this time if the Rangers have spoken to or interviewed him.

"Lastly, don't sleep on Mike Babcock. I've had a few people bring him up, with two sources saying they've heard the #NYR have been making calls/doing homework on him. There definitely seems to be some curiosity regarding how much he's grown/changed since last coaching in 2019." Mercogliano said.

Before being fired by the Maple Leafs in November 2019, Babcock had been a Head Coach in the National Hockey League dating back to 2002, when he got his start with Anaheim. In his first year, he led Anaheim to the Stanley Cup Final, where they lost to New Jersey. Five years later, in 2008, he won the Stanley Cup while behind the bench with Detroit. Following ten years with the Red Wings organization, he was hired by the Maple Leafs, a tenure which lasted just over four seasons.

The Blue Jackets are a relatively young team with Kent Johnson, David Jiricek, Patrik Laine, Zach Werenski and Cole Sillinger, among others. They'll also hold the third overall pick in June's draft, which they could use to select Leo Carlsson or even Will Smith. It's hard to see a fit with the Blue Jackets and Babcock, but it's understandable that they're doing their due diligence and trying to review all of their options on the open market.

May 16   |   104 answers
Mike Babcock's return to the National Hockey League appears to be imminent

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