The Columbus Blue Jackets appear to have found their next head coach.
The Blue Jackets are set to make Mike Babcock the franchise’s new coach when his contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs officially ends later this month, according to a report from Sportnet.
Babcock won the 2008 Stanley Cup with the Detroit Red Wings, but has not coached in the NHL since he was dismissed from the Maple Leafs in 2019.
Babcock signed an eight-year deal with Toronto prior to his departure. In 2021, Babcock was named the head coach of the University of Saskatchewan Huskies.
After one season at the helm, he stepped down and announced his intention to retire.
Other NHL teams reportedly had interest in Babcock, including the New York Rangers.
Aside from the Maple Leafs and the Red Wings, the veteran coach also had a stint with the Anaheim Ducks. He has 17 years of NHL coaching experience.
Over the 17 years, Babcock has compiled a 700-418-19-164 career record. He also coached Canada men’s national ice hockey team to two gold medals in the Olympics.
However, everyone was not always found of Babcock — including ex-Red Wings player Johan Franzen. He once said his Babcock was “the worst person I’ve ever met.”
Babcock also drew criticism for telling two-time NHL All-Star Mitch Marner to rank his Leafs teams by their individual work efforts.
Marner was also instructed to reveal the list to the rest of the team.
After a disappointing 2022-23 season, the Blue Jackets and coach Brad Larsen parted way in April.
Columbus finished this season in last place in the Eastern Conference with 59 points. The club has the third-overall selection in this year’s draft.