It may not be official just yet, but signs are beginning to point to the fact that former Edmonton Oilers bench boss Dallas Eakins may finally be getting another shot at being the head coach of a National Hockey League organization.
The news may come as a surprise to those who last saw Eakins in a head coaching role during his time with the Edmonton Oilers. To suggest that the Oilers under Eakins were an absolute train wreck would be putting it mildly and I can understand it being difficult to see why he would warrant another shot at the NHL level. That being said though the Oilers have continued to struggle in spite of the fact that Eakins has long since been fired and there is good reason to believe that he was badly limited in his ability to coach by the situation he inherited when he joined on with the Oilers.
In spite of what that reputation would suggest to you there have been rumblings for some time now that Eakins was drawing interest from some teams around the NHL after 4 consecutive winning seasons as the head coach of the American Hockey League's San Diego Gulls. Eakins has been praised for his work with that program and with that organization and as a result it should not come as a surprise to fans of the NHL that he is once again on the radar for a number of teams. That being said though they may not even get the chance to speak to him during the offseason if they are indeed interested.
That's because former WHL and SJHL scout Tim Harrison is now reporting that his sources within the NHL have informed him that the Anaheim Ducks intend to promote Eakins internally and introduce him as the next head coach of their much maligned franchise. The Ducks of course fired head coach Randy Carlye this season and put general manager Bob Murray in behind the bench for the reaming games following that decision. Harrison is not usually on top of breaking news stories such as this one so we're going to label it as a rumor for now, but he has done nothing to suggest that he is not being honest here.
It's great that Eakins will get another shot at the NHL level but he will inherit an aging team that really began to show just how much father time has caught up to them this season. Only time will tell if he can fare better this time around.