I live in Toronto, and can assure you that Pat Quinn's (modest) success in his time here was primarily due to the fact that he also had roster control (without a salary cap) and MLSE money to spend. He was certainly the best coach the team has had in a long time, but also wasn't challenged to buy players at whatever price it would take. Following the implementation of the hard cap in 2005, he was fired because the Leafs didn't make the playoffs - and this started the magnification of what truly plagues the Toronto Maple Leafs: Bad management and even worse scouting. I can confidently say that Pat Quinn's departure as coach of the team, had very little to do with how bad they have been since.
At the very least, we aren't going to find ourselves in a situation like Toronto because we have the arguably the deepest pool of prospects in the league - complimented by outstanding management/scouting. The other examples in Dallas and Colorado are intriguing, but both are still young teams who have had some success and probably need time to grow before we can truly judge who the better coaching option was.
In terms of Mike Babcock, I used to completely agree with your assessment - but I no longer do.
At the end of the day, this is a results driven and oriented business and in 10 years as coach of the Detroit Red Wings - Babcock has been unable to advance past the 2nd Round of the NHL Playoffs 7/10 times or 70% of the time he's had the chance. In 2008, we won the Stanley Cup and probably rostered the best team in the NHL, in 2009 we added Marian Hossa and certainly rostered the best team in the NHL, but lost in the finals. The only other year he was able to bring the Detroit Red Wings out of the 2nd round, was in 2007 where we lost to Anaheim in the 3rd round... That team finished the regular season with the most points in the NHL. Yes, he made the playoffs every year, but he also inherited a fantastic core of players in their prime... And when those players no longer were, the results have been 3/4 years out in the 1st round. My point is, if the next 10 years were guaranteed to yield the exact same results (including 4 first round exits) would you sign up for it? Keep in mind, the players who made him successful those 3 years I mentioned wont be a part of it.
I am in no way/shape/form saying that Babcock is a bad coach - but is he atleast overrated? Maybe. It seems that his resume really shines because of the back to back gold medals (no pun intended) he recently won with team Canada, but again this is a case of accomplishing what was expected. Without bias, Canada should win every Olympic Gold they play for - they have the deepest forward group, the best defenseman, and the best goalie in the world. Of course its still an accomplishment to do it, but he isn't the only coach who would have - given the opportunity.
My real point of contention with Babcock's return is what we might have with Jeff Blashill. - this guy continues to just do it. He's only Head Coached professionally for 5 years, but already has 2 championships and 4 semi final appearances to show for it. If he wins the Calder Cup again this year (after losing the likes of Tatar, Nyquist, Jurco, Sheahan, Glendenning, Dekeyser, and Mrazek,) he will have won championships 3/6 times or 50% of the time he's had the chance - I hope the Detroit Red Wings realize this, and that they are actually the ones in the drivers seat.