Don’t expect the Philadelphia Flyers to be in the market for a top-tier free agent this offseason. With little salary cap space available and the majority of their team already signed through next year, they will likely use free agency to plug a small hole or two.
However, expect Ron Hextall to be right in the middle of the market for the top-tier free agent coach this spring.
The Flyers' GM, along with as many as 10 other teams, is lining up to try and lure Red Wings coach Mike Babcock, who has won a Stanley Cup, Olympic gold medal and World Championship, to Philly. Considered one of the best coaches in the NHL, Babcock’s contract is set to expire next month and Detroit has given him permission to speak with other teams.
Would Babcock be a good fit leading the Orange and Black? Here are three reasons why, and why not:
1.He knows how to coach veterans and young players
Although he had gifted players, like Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk, Babcock helped mold a litany of young guys into impact players. The Flyers are currently constructed the same way.
2. He gets the most out of his players
This was one of Craig Berube’s shortcomings and Hextall even made mention of it in the press conference to announce the coach’s firing. Babcock is known for extracting every ounce of talent – and effort – out of his players on a consistent basis and it’s why his teams continue to overachieve.
3. The Flyers have a bright future
The team is not going anywhere in the next year or two, but the organization is stacked with prospects, especially on defense, that could speed up the process. Their potential might entice Babcock.
1. The Flyers are not ready to contend for a Stanley Cup.
Babcock might be looking for a quicker fix instead of a team in rebuilding mode. The Flyers are at minimum three years away.
2. He wants to stay in Hockeytown.
It might not turn out that the Flyers are a bad fit but just not as good as the team where Babcock has spent the last 10 years. There is a good chance Babcock’s heart rests in Detroit, where he is the organization’s all-time winning coach.
3. He might cost too much money
Babcock reportedly turned down a four-year deal that would have paid him more than $3 million a year. The Flyers, who have not paid a coach more than $2 million, might not want to go that high.