Monday: As expected, the Ducks have now officially announced Eakins as head coach. Despite a more drawn-out selection process than anticipated, Murray spoke glowingly of his new hire in the team’s release, stating “Dallas is an outstanding head coach who has worked well with our players since joining the organization four years ago. He is a tremendous leader and strategist, and deserves this opportunity.” The challenge now for Eakins is in trying to replicate his success with the Gulls with a Ducks team that seemed unmotivated for much of last season. The team has an aging, injury-ridden core, but are not without talent. If Eakins can find ways to re-energize the lineup with strong play from the younger players, it’s not out of the question that Anaheim could turn things around as early as next season.
Sunday, 4:00pm: The Athletic’s Eric Stephens and Josh Cooper confirmed that Eakins will be the next coach and he will be formally announced as the Ducks’ tenth coach in franchise history on Monday.
Sunday, 2:00pm: The Anaheim Ducks look like they have finally made a decision on their head coaching job as Dallas Eakins looks to be the “last man standing” and, according to TSN’s Frank Seravalli, the Ducks intend to formally announce him as head coach some time next week. The Orange County Register’s Elliott Teaford adds that he expects the announcement to be made Monday or Tuesday.
Eakins, who has been coaching the San Diego Gulls, the Ducks’ AHL affiliate, for the last four years, has always been considered the lead candidate for the job. However, Anaheim general manager Bob Murray chose to undergo an extensive search to evaluate other possibilities. The process had been delayed, as Eakins led the Gulls to the AHL Western Conference Final, before eventually being eliminated by the Chicago Wolves. He finished with a 154-95-15 record over those four years with San Diego and worked with many of the team’s young players, making him a solid candidate to lead the team’s rebuilding project. He does have some NHL experience as the 52-year-old coached the Edmonton Oilers, but didn’t last long as he was fired after 18 months and a 36-63-14 record.
The team interviewed a number of candidates including New York Islanders assistant Lane Lambert, Dallas Stars assistants Todd Nelson and Rick Bowness, Manitoba Moose head coach Pascal Vincent, and University of Minnesota-Duluth coach Scott Sandelin. However, one by one, the candidates were told they were out of the running, with Eakins and Sandelin the last two coaching candidates standing. Sandelin recently signed an extension with Duluth, possibly taking him out of the running.
Anaheim is coming off a disappointing season that saw them not make the playoffs, finish 35-37-10, and force Randy Carlyle out of a job mid-season with many pointing the team’s lack of effort throughout the year. Murray took over the reins himself for the rest of the year in hopes of getting a better understanding of what the team would need this off-season.