By Ashley Dunkak
@AshleyDunkak

CBS DETROIT – After 10 years with the Detroit Red Wings, venerable NHL head coach Mike Babcock has signed an eight-year, $50 million deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs, according to Darren Dreger of TSN.

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TSN’s Bob McKenzie reports the contract is heavily front-loaded, with Babcock making as much as $8 million per year in each of the first three years of the deal.

Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said earlier this month, after the team was eliminated from the playoffs, that money would be no object to keeping Babcock.

Earlier in the day, Dreger reported Detroit’s final offer was $4 million per year for five years.

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Babcock’s contract with the Red Wings was set to expire at the end of June, with Detroit holding exclusive negotiating rights, but the Red Wings granted the coach permission to explore opportunities with other teams before he made his decision.

Babcock said after the season that neither money nor power would be major factors in his decision. He had no desire to be a general manager, he said, and he felt no obligation to set a new benchmark for what NHL head coaches are paid. Most important to him, Babcock maintained, would be the opportunity to win and the input of his family.

Among the other teams reportedly interested in Babcock were the St. Louis Blues, the Buffalo Sabres and the San Jose Sharks.

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During the 2013 season, Babcock surpassed both Scotty Bowman and Jack Adams as the winningest coach in the storied franchise’s history. Babcock has won a Stanley Cup and two Olympic gold medals.