Report: Babcock, McLellan top Philly’s list to replace Berube

46 Comments

Didn’t take long for the Flyers’ wish list to go public after firing Craig Berube.

Per TSN and CSN Philadelphia, two coaches currently under contract — Detroit’s Mike Babcock and San Jose’s Todd McLellan — are the leading candidates shortlisted to replace Berube, who was dismissed earlier this morning.

Neither name will come as a big surprise. Babcock is in extremely high demand, with Toronto and Buffalo believed to be among the most interested suitors. The Leafs and Sabres, like the Flyers, have already fired their head coaches (Peter Horachek and Ted Nolan) this offseason.

As for McLellan, the situation is tricky. He left San Jose’s locker clean-out day amid major acrimony, with his job status questionable and Joe Thornton delivering a parting shot. McLellan seems as though he’s all but done with the Sharks, especially with numerous reports that he and the organization will agree to mutually part ways, but McLellan also said he doesn’t expect an answer on his future until he leaves to coach Team Canada at the World Championships on Apr. 24.

As for the Flyers’ timeline, GM Ron Hextall said he’d like to have a coach in place by the NHL Entry Draft, which goes in late June. Hextall also said he has no desire to keep the hire “in the family” and bring aboard a coach with former ties to the organization (see: Berube, John Stevens, Bill Barber.)

“We’re looking for the right guy,” Hextall explained. “Whether he has connections or not is not going to be part of the equation. I don’t care about that. We’re looking for the best coach possible to coach our team moving forward.”