TODAY MARKS Day 25 of the Flyers' tight-lipped head-coaching search.
Little more information has leaked about the process, other than that No. 1 candidate Mike Babcock is now officially up for grabs.
Here is where things stand with the two men the Flyers appear to be most interested in hiring:
Record: 527-285-138 (.627); two seasons with Anaheim, 10 with Detroit.
Playoff record: 82-62 (.589)
Stanley Cup: 1 (2008)
Status: Under contract with
Detroit until June 30.
Update: Granted permission by Detroit general manager Ken Holland to meet and discuss terms with prospective suitors until May 25. If Babcock decides to leave Detroit, his next team will owe the Red Wings one third-round pick of their choosing from among the 2015-17 drafts.
This week: Babcock arrived in Prague today to watch the World Championships, most specifically to check up on Red Wings first-round prospect Dylan Larkin on Team USA. He will not be returning stateside until May 17, not leaving him a significant amount of time to work out a deal with another team before his reported May 25 deadline. When he returns, Babcock said he will visit any team he is particularly interested in joining. Babcock reiterated to "Hockey Night in Canada's" Elliotte Friedman on Saturday that just because he is perusing the open market doesn't mean he is leaving the Red Wings. The three most important factors for Babcock, as told to Friedman, are the "relationship between team's owner and general manager, the team's plan, and how his family feels.''
Believed rank on Flyers' short list: No. 1.
Teams interested: Flyers, Oilers, Sabres, Maple Leafs, Sharks, Devils.
Best bet: Babcock stays in Detroit (2/5 odds).
Odds he ends up with Flyers: 5/1
Record: 311-163-66 (.637); seven seasons with San Jose
Playoff record: 30-32 (.484)
Stanley Cup: None
Status: Agreed to "mutually part ways'' with Sharks on April 20.
Update: McLellan is currently the head coach of Team Canada's entry in the World Championships in Prague. The tournament runs through May 17. Canada is undefeated (6-0-0), holding down first place in Group A in the preliminary round. McLellan has gotten a first-hand look at Claude Giroux, Sean Couturier and Brayden Schenn, also coaching against Jake Voracek (Czech Republic captain) and Mark Streit (Switzerland). He has made Schenn a healthy scratch in five out of six preliminary games.
This week: According to Friedman, the Oilers may not be interested in waiting to pursue Babcock. That could be a smart strategy, considering most teams will shift their focus to McLellan should Babcock land somewhere quickly. Instead, the Oilers may announce McLellan as their coach as early as this week, though the Oilers declined comment to "Hockey Night in Canada." Edmonton has suddenly become a destination like it's the 1980s after winning the right to draft Connor McDavid at No. 1 overall next month. The Oilers already have a few solid pieces in place on offense. They need upgrades in goal and on defense if they're to be a playoff team, but with McLellan and McDavid in the fold, the process would only hasten.
Believed rank on Flyers' short list: No. 2.
Teams interested: Flyers, Oilers, Sabres, Maple Leafs, Devils.
Best bet: McLellan lands in
Odds he ends up with Flyers: 12/1
The Flyers are expected to fiercely pursue Babcock as their No. 1 choice. However, according to a team spokesman, Flyers general manager Ron Hextall will not be visiting Prague this week, where both Babcock and McLellan will be.
It is believed Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan met with Babcock on Saturday and is expected to fly to Prague this week to continue the process. Babcock toured the Buffalo Sabres' facilities with owner Terry Pegula and general manager Tim Murray on Sunday. In addition to Babcock, candidates Dan Bylsma, Peter DeBoer, plus Devils GM Ray Shero and Red Wings GM Ken Holland will all be in Prague this week.
Some have speculated that Hextall is chasing Babcock with such vigor that the Flyers will be scrambling for a Plan B. That would seem to go against everything Hextall has been about - a methodical thinker with a long-term vision.
If Edmonton does hire McLellan, that would only benefit the Flyers' in their quest for Babcock. Out of the remaining possibilities - assuming St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Boston and even Montreal all retain their current coaches - perhaps only San Jose is in a better position to get back in the playoff mix than the Flyers. Even with Jack Eichel going to Buffalo in the draft, the Flyers are better off than Buffalo, and certainly have more direction than Toronto.
What is true is that after Babcock and McLellan, the coaching field is wide-open. There are many qualified candidates perceived to be in that "next echelon'' of coaches.
Former Penguins coach Dan Bylsma seems most likely to end up in New Jersey, where he could be reunited with former boss Ray Shero, who took over as Lou Lamoriello's successor last week. Remember: Shero never fired Bylsma. That was the work of current Penguins GM Jim Rutherford.
Detroit will not give Grand Rapids (AHL) coach Jeff Blashill permission to speak to interested parties. Blashill is expected to be promoted to the Red Wings' bench should Babcock depart. It is unclear if that permission would be granted should Babcock decide to stay.
Former Flyers coach John Stevens seems to be the heir apparent to Darryl Sutter in Los Angeles, with little incentive to leave. Former Lightning coach Guy Boucher was reportedly in contact with the Maple Leafs, who have not hired a general manager.
Then there is Dallas Eakins, fired by Edmonton in December, who was the can't-miss top AHL coach along with Jon Cooper just 2 calendar years ago. Nearly 1 month in, Eakins is still the only candidate with confirmed contact with the Flyers.
Claude Giroux's junior coach, Gatineau's Benoit Groulx, remains a possibility. As does former Flyer Kevin Dineen, who is knee-deep in the playoffs with Chicago as an assistant coach. The Flyers would still be best served going outside the organization's deep history for their next head coach.
In other words, after Babcock, the Flyers could be anyone's job. Stay tuned.