Mike Babcock had two goals in mind when he became a coaching free agent last summer. The first was landing the biggest contract in NHL coaching history for himself, which he did with an eight-year deal worth $50 million in Toronto. But he also was trying to raise salaries for all coaches.
Joel Quenneville signed an extension in January that added three years and $18 million, more than doubling his salary with Chicago. According to otherleague.com, the only coach currently under contract and not making $2 million or more per season was Red Wings boss Jeff Blashill, a rookie who made $800,000.
Bruce Boudreau, hired by the Ducks two days after he was fired by the Caps in 2011 and hired by the Wild eight days after the Ducks fired him, over the weekend signed a four-year deal worth $11 million with Minnesota. Guy Boucher is expected to pocket a similar salary on a three-year deal with Ottawa.
Every time coaches look at their bank accounts, they should thank Babcock for the increase in direct deposits. The trick for Babcock now will be leading the Maple Leafs back to respectability before people argue he’s the most overpaid coach in the league.