The Flyers have had three different head coaches in the last six seasons. Their top priority should be to get the man who, until now, was the longest tenured coach in the NHL.
Mike Babcock’s contract with the Detroit Red Wings is up, and the team has permitted him to speak with the rest of the league. It is no secret that the Flyers are interested, and they should be.
Babcock’s track record speaks for itself. He has the 10th most career playoff wins in NHL history with 79. He has spent the last 10 seasons behind the Red Wing’s bench, where he has found much success. During that run, he led Detroit to back-to-back Stanley Cup Finals Appearances, one of which they won in 2008. Prior to that, he spent two seasons in Anaheim, one of which he led the team to the Stanley Cup Finals. He coached Team Canada to consecutive Olympic gold medal championships in 2010 and 2014.
It was clear that Craig Berube did not garner the respect a head coach should. Babcock, with his winning record and commanding presence over the locker room, would instantly change the team culture. He also has no former ties to Philadelphia, and would be a nice change of pace.
A fresh perspective could allow for the team’s needs to be recognized and addressed rather quickly. This team has some talent and is a few good pieces away from being a legitimate contender. Babcock could step in and win right away. It would not be a total rebuild-type situation. Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek are the two franchise cornerstones that could potentially raise his interest level.
As of now, there has been no official meeting between Babcock and the Flyers organization, but speculation has been high that Philadelphia is one of the coach’s top landing spots. It makes perfect sense, and until anyone from the front office speaks about the current state of the coaching vacancy, it will continue to be a hot rumor.
GM Ron Hextall has made it clear that he wants to win now, but will not mortgage away the future for a small window of opportunity. Who better to build a winning future with than Babcock?