By Jack Ryan

Flyers Nation has been fed baloney by the ton about the team’s interest in and chances of hiring Mike Babcock to replace Craig Berube as coach.

Just this week the headlines led everyone to believe that it was just a matter of time.

Now comes today’s Daily News report:

His current deal with Detroit expires on June 30. Any team seeking permission to court Babcock, including the Flyers, needed to sign a letter agreeing to the terms of compensation should they persuade him to leave: one third-round draft pick from any of the 2015 through ’17 drafts.

Interestingly, the Flyers are not believed to have met with Babcock yet. He reportedly flew to Toronto to meet with one of his former players, Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan, about their opening last Friday. Babcock was also spotted in Buffalo last Sunday, touring the Sabres’ updated facilities with owner Terry Pegula and GM Tim Murray, before taking off for the Czech Republic on Monday.

Flyers general manager Ron Hextall said through a team spokesman he was not attending the World Championships, even though Babcock and a slew of other coaching candidates and general managers were gathered there.

Despite that, speaking to those close to Babcock and other interested parties, many think he has narrowed his choice down to the Flyers or the Red Wings.

Babcock said Friday in an interview with Darren Dreger of TSN that he expects to reveal his next job within the next week.

“The decision date is going to be moved up,” Babcock told Dreger in an interview conducted at the IIHF World Championship in Prague, Czech Republic. “I’ll bet you by [May] 20, I’m going to know what I’m doing.”

Detroit general manager Ken Holland, also in the TSN interview, had said he was hoping to have Babcock’s answer by May 25. The Red Wings on May 8 granted Babcock permission to speak with other NHL teams.

Holland said he offered Babcock a contract extension last summer.

“We’re going to have a good coach behind the bench next year,” he said. “I hope it’s [Mike].”

Babcock has coached the Red Wings for 10 seasons, winning the Stanley Cup in 2008 and losing the Cup Final in 2009. This season, the Red Wings finished third in the Atlantic Division and lost to theTampa Bay Lightning in a seven-game Eastern Conference First Round series.

“There’s not a better job, there’s a different job, so you have to be careful,” Babcock said, adding that he’s had a lot to consider making his decision.

“The Red Wings are an Original Six franchise. That’s a special, special thing,” Babcock told TSN. “I think about the opportunity to win. I think about my family, my time in Detroit.

“Is change important to invigorate me? I think about lots of things. I’ve done enough thinking. It’s time to make a decision here pretty quick. I’m a big-picture guy, but I’m an immediate-gratification guy too, because I like winning.”

Holland has not revealed which teams requested permission to meet with Babcock.

“I have offers,” Babcock said. “More than one.”

He said he didn’t expect money to be an issue.

“The Ilitch family (who owns the Red Wings) has always been very fair with Mike Babcock,” he said. “Anywhere you go, you’ll be paid.

“I do want to be paid. That’s not going to be an issue in Detroit.”

Holland said there is a compensation letter teams must sign in order to talk to Babcock; any team that hires Babcock would have to give Detroit a third-round pick in the NHL Draft within the next three years.

“A third-round pick for a head coach is pretty reasonable,” Holland said.

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