Coach Dallas Eakins will remain with the Anaheim Ducks for his fourth season in charge next season. The Ducks have extended Eakins’ contract for the 2022-23 season, according to new General Manager Pat Verbeek.
OFFICIAL: We have picked up the 2022-23 club option on the contract of Head Coach Dallas Eakins.
More… 👇 pic.twitter.com/tfJOAO8OKZ
— Anaheim Ducks (@AnaheimDucks) April 12, 2022
The Ducks are coming off their third consecutive losing season under Eakins, who took over in June this year. Anaheim is 29-33-12 coming into Tuesday’s game against Florida.
Until the All-Star break, when they began a 6-17-3 slide that has all but assured they will miss the playoffs for a franchise-record fourth consecutive year, the Ducks were still in the Western Conference playoff picture.
Statement from general manager
Verbeek said that he discussed keeping on for a fourth season with Eakins approximately a month ago. Their deal became official on Tuesday after the Southern California News Group reported on Monday that Eakins would be back on the job next season, his seventh overall with the franchise.
“I felt it was necessary. Dallas has done this job under difficult circumstances and deserves the opportunity to continue coaching this team,” said Verbeek through a statement. “We are pleased he will be returning and look forward to a promising 2022-23 season.”
Verbeek also said that they were simply waiting for the right moment to share the information, whether it would be at the conclusion of the season or ten days after the season. Now that the news is out, they might as well bring it out and put it to rest.
Decision to stay
After taking over the team two months ago, Verbeek chose not to make a coaching change. He took over for veteran GM Bob Murray, who resigned amid allegations of misbehavior. Verbeek said it was unfair. He didn’t feel he had enough time to assess Eakins’ coaching ability after only two months on the job.
“Two months. I’ve known Dallas for two months now, essentially. I didn’t think it was fair to Dallas to say, ‘OK, that’s it.’ Do you know what I mean? I wanted to give him a chance. When I came in here, I wanted to give everyone a chance. That’s what I’m doing. That’s what I’m doing.” said Verbeek.
Verbeek also made Eakins’ task more difficult by trading four senior contributors at the trade deadline — defenders Hampus Lindholm and Josh Manson, as well as forwards Rickard Rakell and Nic Deslauriers.
Eakins is the Ducks’ third coach since billionaire Henry Samueli purchased the organization in 2005. Randy Carlyle guided Anaheim to their first Stanley Cup victory, while Bruce Boudreau won four straight Pacific Division titles over 412 seasons.
Hope for Ducks
Despite the team’s current record, Verbeek appeared to see promising prospects with Eakins.
“I think what I’ve liked best about it is they’ve continued to work and not thrown in the towel and not quit,” said Verbeek. “To me that’s important. That’s telling me a lot about how the coach still has them and is still working to do a job each and every night. That says a lot about his character.”
Verbeek said that he would soon decide whether to keep assistant coaches Newell Brown, Mike Stothers, and Geoff Ward. He said that their excitement and energy have helped a young club through the potentially tumultuous final weeks of the season.
Furthermore, Eakins has consistently helped the coaches for strengthening the Ducks’ special teams this season, which aided their comeback from the depths last season. The Ducks’ power play was rated 13th in the NHL before Tuesday, while their penalty kill was ranked 12th among the league’s 32 clubs.