Holland doesn’t want Babcock’s contract status to be a distraction

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Will Mike Babcock sign a contract extension to remain head coach of the Detroit Red Wings past 2014-15?

If he does, it won’t be during the season — it’ll either be before or after.

Or never.

“Our team doesn’t need an everyday Mike Babcock watch all year long,” GM Ken Holland told ESPN.com this morning. “We are going to talk in September and we’ll see where we go.”

Writes ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun:

If high-profile teams like Toronto and Pittsburgh struggle this season, you better believe the Babcock talk will intensify. Unfortunately for the Wings, it’s going to be a storyline all year long unless he signs an extension before the season, because you know his name will be the first to pop up in the NHL markets where things are going poorly.

Plan B for the Red Wings, should Babcock leave next summer, is potentially their AHL head coach Jeff Blashill. Or at least that’s one of the options. Other NHL teams contacted Detroit about wanting to talk to Blashill this summer and the answer was “No,” according to sources.

LeBrun makes a good point about Toronto, where Randy Carlyle is most definitely on the hot seat. And the big-money Maple Leafs could certainly make Babcock a massive offer, should they be granted the opportunity next summer.

Meanwhile, poor Mike Johnston is already reading speculation about his job security, and he hasn’t even coached a game for the Penguins.

Related: Under Pressure: Mike Johnston