Simmons: Leafs could revisit MacLean, DeBoer possibilities if Babcock falls through

The Mike Babcock sweepstakes are heating up.

Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan and Co. recently travelled to the world hockey championships in Prague where they made another pitch to the soon-to-be most coveted coaching free agent on the market.

But what if the Leafs fall flat in landing Babcock? What’s Plan B?

More past the jump…

Well, as Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun wrote in his Sunday column, the Leafs could revisit the possibility of hiring ex-Senators coach Paul MacLean — an assistant under Babcock in Detroit and Anaheim — or former New Jersey bench boss Pete DeBoer.

From the Toronto Sun:

The Leafs kicked tires on Paul MacLean and Pete DeBoer as interim coaches after firing Randy Carlyle. With Babcock’s free agency about to end and Todd McLellan on his way to Edmonton, do the Leafs turn back in that direction or does Blashill become their target?

Plan B may not be a bad option for the Leafs. First and foremost, they won’t have to give up a third-round pick to land a coach. Secondly, both MacLean and DeBoer have proven they can both win at the highest level.

DeBoer took the Devils to a Cup final in 2012 and MacLean has a title as an assistant under Babcock with the Red Wings.

According to Simmons, there’s a strong chance Babcock will return to Detroit for an 11th season.

My read on Babcock: He looked around. He listened. He saw what was available. And he’ll return to Detroit because there’s no better place for him.

Other coaches you can throw in Toronto’s Plan B include: Dan Bylsma, Guy Boucher, John Tortorella, Jeff Blashill, Todd McLellan (Unless things fall apart with Oilers).

  • John Tortorella in Toronto, my God would that be entertaining! Is Dallas Eakins name out of the mix? If he chose to stay with the Marlies instead of going to Edmonton he’d already been named head coach… but that would have been after the Carlyle firing so who knows how the rest of the season would have gone.

  • I’ve believed for a while the next coach would be one with tones of Junior/AHL experience like Deboer or Dale Hunter as the next 4 years will require a coach who is good and familiar at coaching young players and can help them grow their game. Paul MacLean scares me as consider that the young kids that helped Ottawa make the playoffs were always in MacLean’s dog house and he never played them. I don’t think a rebuilding team with a lot of young players potentially on the team needs or would benefit from that kind of coach.

  • giproc

    If the Leafs go with a highly-rated but inexperienced coach – especailly one of the AHL or even junior coaches mentioned – to me it signals that most of the entitled core of Kessel, Bozak, Lupul and Phaneuf are guaranteed to be long gone before the coach puts whistle to mouth.

    After seeing how Kessel reacted to Spott, Horachek and even Randy after signing his huge deal, can you imagine how he’d act with a junior coach?

    I’m fine with Bashill if it means that the 4 aforementioned are gone before training camp, preferably before the draft.

  • giproc

    I attended both Marlies playoff games and watched the rest on TV, when it mattered most Jeff Blashill Outcoached Gord Dineen.
    Dineen deserves some kudos for the fine job he did once the Marlies improved the depth pool with Nylander and Leipsic and yes… Matt Frattin but when it mattered most, Grand Rapids was a better coached, more disciplined team.
    With the direction the team is taking over the next few years, I think he is an ideal candidate if we lose the Babcock lottery.