NHL training camps haven't even started yet and the biggest free agent buzz going into next season could be regarding head coach Mike Babcock.
Babcock, going into the final year of his deal with Detroit, says he's either going to get a new contract with done before the season starts or wait until after the season to see what happens - a decision that's fine with general manager Ken Holland.
"At the end of the day, that makes the most sense," Holland told TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun of ESPN.com on Thursday morning. "Our team doesn't need an everyday Mike Babcock watch all year long. We are going to talk in September, and we'll see where we go."
Babcock, who's entering his tenth season with the Red Wings and led the club to a Stanley Cup in 2008, added that the decision to leave contract talks on the table after the puck drops is the best route to take.
"One hundred percent, because the players deserve my total attention and commitment to winning hockey games and not talking about contracts," Babcock told LeBrun. "Ken Holland and I have a great relationship. I have a great owner. I like Detroit. I have no concern at all with my situation. We'll find a way to get a deal worked out. But it's not like I'm in any rush. If it happens, it happens, if not, we'll get it done at the end of the year."
Babcock's resume also includes leading the Anaheim Ducks to the Stanley Cup Final in 2003 and coaching Canada to gold at the World Hockey Championship and World Junior Hockey Championship. Topping it off is his crowning achivement for Canada - coaching the Olympic Men's Hockey Team in 2010 and 2014 and winning the gold medal both times.
"The guy's got an opportunity of a lifetime," Holland added. "He's an unrestricted free agent. He's 52 years of age. His stock isn't going to get any higher. He's coming off his second Olympic gold. He was finalist for coach of the year. People feel the job he did last year with our team was as good as he's done here in a number of years."