I'd be OK with Carlyle. Toronto is/was a horrible place to coach. The team quit on him, but as good as they were (earlier in the year) they did nothing for his replacement.
Blech. Toronto may be a terrible place to coach, but NJ isn't much of an upgrade in terms of roster at the moment, maybe stronger organization bc we dont have to deal with the MLSE garbage, but Carlyle is not a guy for a team thats likely going to struggle. He has a Cup thanks to Pronger and Niedermayer, but outside of those first two years in Anaheim, he has done literally nothing since. He's the worst name out there IMO.
If Hitchcock leaves St. Louis, I'm fine with him. I'm ok with Bylsma if we went that route as well. Boucher would not be the worst hire, he's still finding his way in terms of style and could be worth giving a shot to.
There's not many current names out there that I'd be particularly annoyed by if they were hired. I'd be least enthusiastic about Randy Carlyle, but I doubt that has much of a chance.
Is Babcock really that good of a coach? Looking at some of the rosters he has had, it doesn't look like he really had a lot of work cut out for him.
Yes, he is. His NHL teams have missed the playoffs once his entire career. He's had success at virtually every level he's coached at too, from juniors to international. Obviously, hes had good players playing for him, but he must be doing something right to get that kind of consistency. If he does end up at Buffalo, that will be a really interesting test. He's the right guy for that kind of a roster.