Red Wings' max offer to Babcock was 5 years; Blashill leading candidate to replace him

Jerome Miron / Reuters

Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland couldn't compete with the reported eight-year contract that the Toronto Maple Leafs gave head coach Mike Babcock.

"I've got mixed emotions today," Holland told reporters. "I said 'Mike, the best I could do was five years.'"

The Maple Leafs announced the signing of the highly coveted head coach Wednesday to a deal reportedly worth about $50 million over an eight-year period.

"Any time you're an unrestricted free agent in the prime of your career, there's going to be opportunities that probably will stagger you," the GM said.

Holland said Babcock called him at around 11:15 a.m. to inform the GM of his decision, hours after Babcock came to Holland's house and expressed mixed feelings.

Detroit's GM said he's moving on and already considers his former coach an adversary.

"Our goal is to beat Mike," Holland said.

The Red Wings need to fill the void left by Babcock's departure, and Holland has two or three candidates in mind.

Grand Rapids Griffins head coach Jeff Blashill is a leading candidate, and Holland said he will spend time with the coach of the Red Wings' AHL affiliate soon.

Holland added that former Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma would be considered.

Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch didn't overreact when he found out about Babcock's destination.

The Red Wings GM displayed a similar level of acceptance.

"All good things come to an end," Holland said.

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Red Wings' max offer to Babcock was 5 years; Blashill leading candidate to replace him
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