Babcock sounds off on Sedin retirement

The Leafs’ bench boss has a long history with the future Hall of Famers.

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In case you missed it, Vancouver Canucks superstars Henrik and Daniel Sedin announced on Monday afternoon that they’ll be officially retiring following the 2017-18 season.

The identical twin brothers who happen to be the Canucks’ all-time leaders in goals, assists, points and games played will go down in history as the greatest players in franchise history. And, when you’ve played 18 years in the NHL at such a high level, you make an impression on those around the game. Such is the case with Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock who regularly coached against the twins during his time as head coach of the Anaheim Ducks and Detroit Red Wings.

Today Babcock opened up about Monday’s news and shared a bit of his personal opinion on the two future Hall of Famers:

For those not able to get on Twitter, you can see the full quote below:

“I’ve coached against them a ton, whether it was in Detroit or in Anaheim. They’re as good of cycle players as there was, as good of power play guys as there are and represented Sweden well. But the thing that always impressed me as all the stuff I used to hear about them - how hard they worked, how hard they prepared, what they did for the team. To me, any time you’re in a Canadian city and people love hockey and you’re the face of the franchise for as long as they have been and you’re as revered as they are, you’ve obviously done a lot of great things. I don’t know them personally, I just know them as competitors, but it sounds to me like they’re unbelievable people. They’ll be missed to say the least, but obviously they’re going to go on to their next chapter and that’ll be exciting for them too.”

Well said, Babs. Well said. 

Interestingly enough, the departure of the Sedin twins has led to much speculation that the Canucks will be eyeing two pending Leafs free-agents this upcoming offseason. Canucks insider, Sportsnet 650’s Rick Dhaliwal, dropped a hot rumour concerning Toronto Maple Leafs centre Tyler Bozak and the Canucks:

Check it out:

Interesting. Here’s the thing, it’s almost a certainty that Bozak will be available come July 1st. The Leafs’ signing of Patrick Marleau last offseason has made it a near guarantee that Bozak will be leaving the team. He’s been a good player for the Leafs the past few seasons, but he’s a luxury at this point. He’s not a player that the Leafs need to have in the lineup each and every night, especially given the emergence of Nazem Kadri as a true #2 centre. 

So, yeah… Bozak will go to market. If the Canucks come calling he’d be wise to listen, as well. With Henrik retiring the Canucks have Bo Horvat, Brandon Sutter and Sam Gagner down the middle. Bozak fits pretty neatly into that as either a first, second or third line centre. While the Canucks won’t be competing for a Stanley Cup anytime soon, Bozak could at least get some job security in Vancouver and likely make a good chunk of change given the team’s cap situation.

It’s not the craziest rumour out there. Especially when you consider that the Canucks have been linked to several other free-agent names out there, like Leafs winger James van Riemsdyk:

Interesting times in Vancouver. You can almost bet that this team’s moves this offseason will have a major impact on the Leafs. Definitely worth keeping an eye on.