Last March, the Toronto Maple Leafs handsomely paid Mike Babcock $6.25 million per year to be their head coach; an offer Babcock couldn’t refuse. In the process of getting a monster raise, Babcock rewarded his fellow NHL coaches by inflating the market. Now coaches are waiting their turn to cash in. Say a guy like Claude Julien.
When you make these decisions, you better have a guy in line that’s better than that guy. There’s not many, I can tell you that. He’s a hell of a coach. –Mike Babcock on Boston firing Claude Julien
Many believe Julien will demand a salary as high as $4-5 million per year. Which made me wonder, would Vegas be willing to pay the going rate for Claude?
The answer is no.
Ken and I had a chance to catch up with The Creator during the Mandarin Oriental Rooster trade event, and after our conversation, I can officially cross Julien’s name off the list. It’s no longer speculation, Claude Julien will not be the Golden Knights first coach. It was clear immediately when I asked directly about the financial aspect of the hiring. I first asked if he would pay top dollar, to which he instantly said yes. I added, four to five million? And the answer speaks for itself.
That’s probably a lot for us.
I’ll tell you what we really want. George McPhee’s going to make the call. My call is going to be, is this a guy I can work with feel comfortable with. All the people we have in this organization keep their egos in check they are about winning hockey games or making a successful business. -The Creator
The cost for Julien is just too steep. The Creator obviously sees the value in a successful head coach, but wants more than just wins. He wants a coach that’ll grow with the organization. Julien could be that, but it’s much more likely he’s headed to somewhere he can win, and now. Plus, with Julien’s expected salary requirements, his high value just doesn’t fit the Golden Knights plan.
It’s best for us if we can find a coach that can carry us from day one. The expansion draft, amateur draft, opening night, to five or six years when we’re real contenders. I don’t want a three year guy. I’d just say we want a guy that’s gong to be with us for the long haul. Someone who is a players coach that’s what George is looking for… and an owner’s coach too. – The Creator
I wrote Thursday that Julien wasn’t the right fit in Las Vegas and purposely left off anything about his salary. That’s because there was no way of knowing the thoughts of the man with the checkbook at that time. Well now we know, and it’s basically a death sentence to the Julien to Vegas fan club.
Babcock went from making $2 million to $6.25 million per year when he left the Red Wings for Toronto in 2015. With as in demand as Claude appears to be on the open market, it’s rational to think Julien’s getting a significant raise. Puck Daddy lists eight potential landing spots for his services. He was making $2.5 million in Boston, odds are, double isn’t “probably a lot” for one of the other seven.
The Creator and George McPhee have a formula, and overpaying for a coach doesn’t appear to be part of it, at least for right now. They want someone that will stick, and more importantly someone who makes sense on day one. That’s not Julien, but that someone is out there.
Listen to the latest SinBin.vegas Podcast for much more discussion on our conversation with The Creator. Coaches, mascots, jerseys, we asked it all, and we broke it all down in the latest episode of the podcast.