Report: Columbus To Hire Mike Babcock As Next Head Coach


According to TSN’s Darren Dreger, Mike Babcock will return to the NHL for the first time since November 19, 2019 to be the Columbus Blue Jackets’ head coach.

Babcock was fired by the Toronto Maple Leafs after a 9-10-4 start to the 2019-20 season and three consecutive seasons of losing in the first-round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs with a talented but inexperienced core. Babcock guided the Detroit Red Wings to the Stanley Cup in 2008 and came just one win shy of a repeat the next season. He has gone 700-418-19 (.608 points percentage) in 1,301 career regular-season games behind the bench with Toronto and Detroit and has taken his teams to the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 12 of his 15 seasons as a coach. He is 90-74 (.549 points percentage) during the tournament in his career.

Babcock also led the Canadian men’s Olympic team to two consecutive gold medal wins in 2010 and 2014 as head coach. Though there were complaints about how he treated his players in Toronto, his track record combined with the fact that he is a free agent makes him a possibility. He has been nominated twice for the Jack Adams Award, given to the NHL’s head coach of the year.

Babcock is the first and only coach to date to have won the Stanley Cup, an Olympic gold medal, a World Cup, a World Championship, and a World Junior Championship.

Former Detroit forward Johan Franzen called Babcock “the worst person I’ve ever met” in an interview with the Detroit Free Press published two weeks after Toronto fired him. There was also a story where Babcock asked then 23-year-old Toronto right-wing Mitch Marner to rank his teammates from least hard-working to most and then shared it with the team.

Columbus parted ways with Brad Larsen after finishing the 2022-23 season 25-48-9, tied with the Chicago Blackhawks for the second-worst record in the NHL. Only the San Jose Sharks (22) and Anaheim Ducks (23) had fewer wins than Columbus while just Chicago (49) had more regulation losses. Though, the team finished with 563 man-games lost to injury.

In their first campaign with left-wing Johnny Gaudreau, Columbus finished with averages of 2.6 goals-per-game (30th) and 4.01 goals-against per game (31st). They also tallied a 18.3% power-play efficiency (26th), 75.1% penalty-killing rate (25th), and a .901 team save percentage (30th).

Anaheim, the New York Rangers, and Calgary Flames are now the only teams currently without a head coach for next season after Columbus hired Babcock, the Washington Capitals hired Spencer Carbery, and the Nashville Predators hired Andrew Brunette.

By Harrison Brown

About Harrison Brown

Harrison is a diehard Caps fan and a hockey fanatic with a passion for sports writing. He attended his first game at age 8 and has been a season ticket holder since the 2010-2011 season. His fondest Caps memory was watching the Capitals hoist the Stanley Cup in Las Vegas. In his spare time, he enjoys travel, photography, and hanging out with his two dogs. Follow Harrison on Twitter @HarrisonB927077
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6 Responses to Report: Columbus To Hire Mike Babcock As Next Head Coach

  1. Anonymous says:

    and Patrick Roy front-runner for Ottawa head coach
    Poor D. J. Smith hung out to dry

  2. Anonymous says:

    I guess quenville is next to return.

  3. Anonymous says:

    The article does not mention what happened after he got fired. Hope he’s changed.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Everybody gets a chance to redeem themselves.

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