The Anaheim Ducks coaching search is set to come to an end with an announcement expected Monday with Dallas Eakins becoming the 9th Head coach in Anaheim Ducks history.
The Anaheim Ducks coaching search has gone on a lot longer than most had anticipated, with a fairly lengthy playoff run by the San Diego Gulls most fans thought that their head coach Dallas Eakins would be hired immediately following their elimination by the Chicago Wolves, rather Bob Murray decided to take his time, interviewing several people including Lane Lambert, Scott Sandelin, Rick Bowness, and Todd Nelson for the position that has been officially vacant since the firing of Randy Carlyle back in February (but has been manned by Ducks GM Bob Murray himself as the interim).
Bob Murray likely took his time and explored all options because it seems like this might be his last coaching hire as GM of the Ducks, and as such he would want to make absolutely certain he’s done his due diligence and isn’t hiring the wrong guy.
Whether Dallas Eakins is the right guy or not is yet to be seen, but he is expected to be officially named the next Ducks head coach tomorrow, June 17th. A native of Dade City, Florida, Eakins, and his family relocated to Ontario where he began playing hockey, he went on to be drafted in the 10th round by the Washington Capitals, and went on to be a journeyman in the NHL playing a total of 120 games for 8 different teams, putting up 9 assists and 0 goals over that time.
Once retired following the 2003-04 season Eakins took a year off before he became an assistant coach for the Toronto Marlies in 2005-06. He spent 1 year as the Marlies assistant coach before being promoted to the big club and spending two seasons in Toronto as an assistant coach for the Maple Leafs. Following the 2007-08 season, Eakins took yet another year off of coaching before becoming the head coach of the Marlies team he left 4 years earlier. Eakins had an unremarkable couple of years with the Marlies at first, missing the playoffs in his first two seasons as a head coach and managing a record of 80-67-23. The next season he seemed to find some mojo, taking the Marlies to the Calder Cup finals led by a standout year for Ben Scrivens before being swept by the Norfolk Admirals in the finals.
The following season the Marlies had a fairly similar record and ended up back in the playoffs, both years the Marlies were led mainly by a strong goaltending performance that limited the goals against while scoring a decent amount. The Marlies made quick work of the Rochester Americans in the first round before being dispatched by the Grand Rapids Griffins in round 2.
Following the 2012-13 season, Dallas Eakins was hired to be the next head coach of the floundering Edmonton Oilers. There Eakins had very little success, posting the second worst points earned % out of all Edmonton coaches since 1990. A lot has been made of this failure, with some saying “Well, yeah, it’s Edmonton” while others say that “Yes it’s Edmonton and he was the worst in recent memory by a fairly large margin” and they’re both right… The Oilers are still to this day a tire-fire of a team, and Eakins did very little to help himself in that situation. He came in expecting to change the culture of a disaster of a team basically overnight, it caused players to tune out and not respect him and ultimately led to him losing the locker room and eventually his job.
After being fired by the Oilers after only 113 games as the head coach, he was hired that off-season by the Anaheim Ducks to be the head coach of their AHL affiliate the San Diego Gulls. Since coming to the Gulls he’s had a fair amount of success, being competitive for the most part, posting a 154-95-23 record and reaching the playoffs 3 out of his 4 seasons as coach of the team. The first two seasons with the Gulls Eakins won the first round of the playoffs before losing in the second round 4-1 each year. This last season Eakins led the Gulls the furthest they’ve been in their short time in the league making it to the Conference Finals before being eliminated by the Chicago Wolves.
Now Eakins has been hired as the next head coach of the Anaheim Ducks and the question becomes did Eakins learn from his mistakes in Edmonton? Can he take this re-tooling team in Anaheim and make them relevant once again or was his time in Edmonton more his fault than originally thought. Truthfully, I don’t know the answer to that question, but at this point, it’s up to Eakins to answer.
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