Mike Babcock 'far down the line' in talks with NHL team.
Kostas Lymperopoulos/CSM/Zuma  

Mike Babcock 'far down the line' in talks with NHL team.

It is starting to sound like the controversial head coach will soon be making his return to the NHL.

Jonathan Larivee

Mike Babcock's name is in the news again but this time it sounds like the controversial former National Hockey League head coach may actually be soon returning behind an NHL bench.

For several weeks now Babcock's name has been bandied about the NHL rumor mill in connection with a variety of teams, perhaps most notably the New York Rangers, but on Saturday an NHL insider revealed that he is deep into talks with an entirely different organization.

According to the latest from Rangers insider Larry Brooks, Mike Babcock is now well into conversations with the Columbus Blue Jackets about taking over as their next head coach.

From Brooks:

So we’re told by a reputable source that the disgraced Mike Babcock is “far down the line with a team,” and the inference is that the team is the Blue Jackets.

The Jackets do make sense given that they have shown a tendency to recruit demanding coaches, having previously used John Tortorella to lead their coaching staff for several seasons, and Babcock certainly fits that stereotype. Columbus would also be a less high-profile market than Toronto, and that low-profile situation could be ideal for a head coach whose reputation has been tarnished.

The timing of this also makes a great deal of sense when you consider the fact that Babcock has been raking in a fortune despite not coaching over the past several seasons. Although he was fired in November of 2019, Babcock has been earning a whopping $6.25 million per season from the Maple Leafs this entire time. The final year of his contract just so happens to cover the 2022-23 NHL season, so I'm sure it's no coincidence that Babcock is only now looking to get back into the swing of things.