Toronto Maple Leafs sign coach Mike Babcock to eight-year, $50 million deal

The Toronto Maple Leafs and Mike Babcock have come to terms on a deal that will bring the free agent coach to Ontario’s capital. The eight-year deal will reportedly pay Babcock close to $50 million and will also give Babcock some control over personnel decisions. Babcock has been the coach of the Detroit Red Wings for the past 10 seasons.

Mike Babcock has made his decision and will become the 30th coach in the history of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

According to TSN’s Darren Dreger, Babcock has signed an eight-year contract with the Maple Leafs, signalling the culmination of one of the greatest free agent coaching sagas the league has ever seen. While the specifics of the deal have not been released, Dreger reported the deal is worth in the neighborhood of $50 million, which would be an annual salary of $6.25 million.

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman has also reported that there may be an out-clause for Babcock after five years, which could mean the contract is front-loaded. Friedman also reports that Babcock will have some say in personnel decisions.

For the past 10 seasons, Babcock has been the coach of the Detroit Red Wings and has led the team to two Stanley Cup finals appearances and one Stanley Cup victory in 2007-08. The Red Wings made the post-season in each of Babcock’s seasons behind the bench, but in the past six campaigns Detroit has failed to advance beyond the second round. Over his tenure in Detroit, he became the franchise’s all-time leader in wins by a coach.

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Before arriving in Detroit, Babcock was the bench boss for the Anaheim Ducks, leading the team to the Stanley Cup finals in 2002-03.

Babcock had reportedly spoken with the Red Wings, Maple Leafs, Buffalo Sabres, St. Louis Blues and San Jose Sharks before deciding on which team to coach next season.

The Maple Leafs are set to announce Babcock at a press conference Thursday.