The Detroit Red Wings have granted coach Mike Babcock permission to speak with other teams.
Red Wings general manager Ken Holland announced Friday that he will allow Babcock, per the coach's request, to talk with other NHL teams about head coaching jobs. Babcock clarified that he will explore options, but that he has not settled on leaving Detroit.
Babcock, 52, has coached Detroit to a 458-223 record in his 10 seasons at the helm, including the Stanley Cup-winning 2007-08 season. This season, the Red Wings went 43-25 and fell to the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-3 in their first-round series.
"People can read it into it what they want," Babcock said, according to the Detroit Free Press. "There is no decision made at all. We really like it here. My family loves Detroit. It's way easier for my family to stay here, 100 percent easier. My kids are all going away, but they still want to come back to Detroit on Thanksgiving. They want to come back to Detroit in the summer to work out. So it's way easier for them."
"I just felt, after 10 years, the opportunity was out there," Babcock added. "I'm going to ride this process out. I'm thrilled they want me back."
Holland conferred with ownership, and the Red Wings will leave the door open for the coach's return. Open jobs around the league include Buffalo, New Jersey, Philadelphia, San Jose and Toronto. Babcock holds a reputation as one of the NHL's top coaches, and the Free Press reports he could be seeking $4 million per year or more, which would make him the NHL's highest-paid coach.
"I want Mike here if he wants to be here," Holland said, according to the Free Press. "That's always been my attitude with players and with personnel. If there is a better opportunity for you elsewhere, then you should probably pursue it."
Holland said Detroit will seek compensation from teams in the form of draft picks, should Babcock leave. The coach's contract with Detroit runs out June 30.
- Jeremy Woo