By Sam Bush
If the Flyers want to hire Mike Babcock to coach in 2015-16, they are on the clock.
The Detroit Red Wings have granted coach Mike Babcock permission to talk to other NHL teams starting at noon today until late May, according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie.
The Red Wings still want to bring Babcock back and hope to know his future with the team by the end of the month, ideally within the next 2-3 weeks.
Babcock’s contract with the Red Wings expires on June 30.
“I want Mike here if Mike wants to be here,” general manager Ken Holland said. “That’s always been my attitude toward players.”
However, he made it clear Babcock had earned the right to see what other options existed for him around the League.
“In the best interest of Mike, to see if we’re the best situation for him, if teams call for permission, we’ll grant them permission,” said Holland, who is leaving this weekend for the Czech Republic, where the 2015 IIHF World Championship is ongoing. Babcock will be traveling to the Czech Republic this weekend separately.
There figures to be no shortage of interest for a coach with Babcock’s resume. Holland, who said there is a compensation letter teams must sign in order to talk to Babcock, said he has already received some calls. Edmonton Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli will reach out to Babcock, according to TSN’s Darren Dreger.
Holland said he believed the compensation for Babcock would be a third-round draft pick in the next three seasons.
Babcock has coached the Red Wings for the past 10 seasons, leading them to a Stanley Cup championship in 2008 and back to the Cup Final in 2009. Under his guidance Detroit has extended its run of qualifying for the Stanley Cup Playoffs to 24 straight seasons.
Prior to joining the Red Wings, he coached the Anaheim Ducks to the Cup Final in 2003.
Babcock is 527-285-119 with 19 ties in 12 NHL seasons. He has an 82-62 record in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Holland said he is not granting permission for teams to talk to Jeff Blashill, coach of their American Hockey League affiliate in Grand Rapids. Holland said Blashill would be a candidate for the Detroit position if Babcock leaves.
“If Mike goes elsewhere, I’ll shake his hand and thank him for 10 fabulous years,” Holland said according to the Detroit Free Press.
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