According to Darren Dreger of TSN (via Twitter), the Edmonton Oilers will name Dallas Eakins as their new head coach on Monday. The forthcoming announcement isn’t surprising given it was one of the worst kept secrets in all of hockey as speculation rose when following the dismissal of Ralph Kreuger on Saturday that Eakins would be his predecessor.
Eakins, who was the head coach of the Toronto Marlies, minor league team for the Toronto Maple Leafs had success at the minor league level. In four seasons with the Marlies, Eakins guided the baby Leafs to a 157-114-41 record which included an appearance in the Calder Cup final.
The whole Eakins thing started when Ralph Krueger suggested to Craig MacTavish that they add an associate coach to the staff to help with the development of the Oilers young stars. When Mac-T met with Eakins in Toronto two weeks ago to discuss the associate coach role, the new GM was said to be so impressed with Eakins that he decided it was best to sacrifice Krueger and get Eakins while he could.
Multiple media reports have said that Eakins ability to develop the Leafs’ prospects, namely Nazem Kadri and Jake Gardiner led to MacTavish wanting Eakins as the head coach and not an associate.
Eakins was a popular name this spring among the other clubs that are still looking for a head coach. Both the Vancouver Canucks and Dallas Stars were said to be highly impressed and interested in Eakins along with the New York Rangers.
The Oilers ability to act swiftly and swoop in and snag Eakins has allowed them to get the man they wanted to run the hockey club. Kudos to MacTavish for having the fortitude to make this drastic change. Whether you agree with it or not, Mac-T hasn’t been afraid to making the changes that he promised were forthcoming.