Does anybody in Philadelphia believe there's a bigger offseason story than the potential acquisition of (current) Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock? No? Okay, good.
Let's add some fuel to the fire, shall we?
In today's "30 Thoughts", Sportnet's Elliotte Friedman said outright that he believes Philadelphia is in the top three of teams with the best chance to land Babcock. He also made sure to spell out each argument for where the esteemed head coach could potentially find himself by the end of May:
Ron Hextall’s done a very good job of staying in the cone of silence. But his peers across the NHL believe he has been waiting for this, planning meticulously for the opportunity. You have to think Toronto will make the largest financial offer, but other teams think Philly is going to be up there, too.
What does Babcock think of Claude Giroux, Steve Mason, Wayne Simmonds, Jakub Voracek and their young defencemen not yet in the NHL? Once news began to break that maybe Edmonton was out, Philly became a popular pick for Babcock’s destination.
It makes sense, really. Philadelphia, while coming off quite the abysmal season, still has enough talent to immediately compete for a wildcard berth in the 2015-16 season. The team's been notorious for offensive firepower (seven scorers of 20+ goals just a season ago), and they've got some defensive prospects in the wings that seem like they're about to break through.
Could Babcock squeeze a playoff berth out of this team as it currently stands? It's quite possible. Is there enough talent to create a contender within a timeframe that seems acceptable to Babcock and the organization? I think so. You could argue that Philadelphia has the most talent for Babcock to start with out of any of the teams rumored to be interested in him (and have a chance at landing him).
The other two organizations in Friedman's top three? Detroit and Buffalo.
It's going to be an interesting two weeks, but that's always the case if you're a fan of the Philadelphia Flyers.