Mike Babcock's time in Detroit has finally run out. The Toronto Maple Leafs announced that, on May 20th, they have signed the long time Redwings bench boss as their own. And with good reason. Arguably one of the most feared (and I mean this in a good way) coaches in the NHL today, Babcock boasts a 527 - 285 - 19 - 120 all time record, putting his win percentage right around 55%. And oh, by the way, he hasn't missed a playoff appearance since picking up the head coaching job in motor city. Definitely big shoes to fill for any Redwings coach hopefuls who will be looking to occupy the recently vacated position. But who amongst available personnel would be the best fit?
Is Mike Babcock a good fit for Toronto?
Well for one, former Penguins head coach and 2014 U.S. Olympic Men's Ice Hockey Team head coach, Dan Bylsma, certainly looks like a worthy suitor. Coach Bylsma took over the head coaching duties of the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2009 and since then, the Pens have been a serious cup contender (He also won the cup in '09 against, who else, but the Detroit Redwings). Utilizing talents of star players such as Sydney Crosby, Evgeny Malkin, and Kris Letang, Bylsma has plenty of experience working with elite caliber players.. Surely, he would fit nicely into the Redwings organization which possess an elite veteran core, bolstered by a growing pool of young talent... that's if San Jose doesn't get their hands on him first...
John Tortorella's resume looks quite "interesting" as well. Known for his coaching gigs with the Tampa Bay Lightning(2000-2008) and the New York Rangers(2009-2013) (and the way he often loses his cool on fans, referees, and reporters), Tort's last coaching stint took place in Vancouver for the 2013-2014 season- and boy was it a season to remember (or forget). All together he had been fired(yes, fired) from every single NHL team he's coached, along with fines and suspensions from the NHL throughout. Why would anyone hire this guy? Well, believe it or not, he is(... or was) still considered to be one of the best American born coaches currently in the NHL. He even won a Stanley Cup with Tampa and had been sought after to assist with coaching duties for the U.S. Men's National Team in 2008-2009, and spearheaded the duties for the men's team in the 2008 IIHF World Championship. So despite being somewhat "crazy", he has shown moments of brilliance, and the way things are going for the Redwings, maybe they need a bit of "crazy" (and some brilliance).
The Ontario, Canada native, Claude Julien, is another decorated candidate who is looking for employment. After parting ways with the Boston Bruins after eight seasons(earning one Stanley Cup during that stretch), it would be almost unheard of to think he stays out of the professional hockey game for long. Julien started his NHL coaching career with the Montreal Canadiens. After two seasons there, he also spent a short time with the New Jersey Devils, he would find a solid spot behind the bench of the Bruins. He is even a President's Trophy winner, Stanley Cup winner, and an Olympic Gold Medalist as Team Canada's coach in 2014, but the bulk of his experience comes from his playing career as an undrafted, right-handed defenseman, which stretched over twelve seasons across 9 teams. Could a defensive minded coach save the defensively struggling Redwings?
While there are plenty of other qualified coaches on the market, finding someone to replace Mike Babcock is going to be, no doubt, challenging. Why do you think has the best shot at nabbing the newly open position in the Detroit Redwings organization?