Mike Babcock linked to high-profile NHL coaching job.
John E. Sokolowski/USA TODAY Sports  

Mike Babcock linked to high-profile NHL coaching job.

The former head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs emerges as a coaching candidate on the same day his former team is eliminated from the playoffs.

Jonathan Larivee

The National Hockey League season may not be over just yet with plenty of playoff games left to go before a champion is crowned, but the coaching carousel around the league is already in full swing.

Although the Florida Panthers, Carolina Hurricanes, Dallas Stars, Seattle Kraken, Edmonton Oilers and Las Vegas Golden Knights, all remain alive in the playoffs, the reality is the rest of the league is already making preparations for the upcoming NHL draft, free agency, and of course the upcoming 2023-24 NHL season.

For many teams those preparations will include finding new members for their staff as several NHL teams have cleaned house in one form or another following seasons of varying levels of success, and that means new opportunities for those who have been on the outside of the league looking in as of late.

One name that I certainly did not expect to hear come up when it comes to the coaching carousel this summer was that of former Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babacock. Believe it not though, Babcock's name has returned to the rumor mill on the very same day that his former team was eliminated from playoff contention by the aforementioned Panthers.

That news comes to us courtesy of USA TODAY's Vince Z. Mercogliano who on Friday linked Babcock to the New York Rangers coaching vacancy. Not only does Mercogliano link Babcock to the Rangers however, he also indicates that the Rangers appear to be seriously considering Babcock as a candidate, citing multiple mentions of the former Leafs bench boss.

"Lastly, don't sleep on Mike Babcock," wrote Mercogliano on Friday. "I've had a few people bring him up, with two sources saying they've heard the New York Rangers have been making calls/doing homework on him. There definitely seems to be some curiosity regarding how much he's grown/changed since last coaching in 2019."

Babcock was of course unceremoniously ushered out of his head coaching job in Toronto and many questioned whether or not another NHL coaching opportunity would ever come his way again. There are also questions to be asked about Babcock's level of interest in such a role but, given that the Rangers seem to be doing their due diligence, it appears the Rangers are confident they could entice him back should they select him as their candidate.