In the week or so since the Flyers fired Craig Berube as head coach, there's been a lot of discussion about which candidates out there would be good fits for the job. However, we've heard very little so far in terms of who the Flyers themselves are actually considering for the job outside of the obvious names (Mike Babcock and Todd McLellan can be lumped into that category).
That changed -- at least a bit -- on Saturday evening, as Sportsnet's Damien Cox had the following to say at the very end of his bit during the first intermission of the Lightning-Red Wings game:
One last Philadelphia note, they're looking for a head coach, and on their list is the former head coach of the Edmonton Oilers, Dallas Eakins.
A name! An actual name! And not one we maybe would have expected! We'll look at Eakins' qualifications much more thoroughly at some point over the next couple of days, but for now here's a quick breakdown.
Eakins was fired as head coach of the Oilers this past December after a dreadful year and a half behind the bench there. With Eakins in charge, Edmonton went 36-62-14 between the beginning of the 2013-14 season and Eakins' firing. That is ... bad.
HOWEVER: It should go without saying that Eakins was dealt a rather difficult hand (read: a very, very bad team) in Edmonton, so while that record is real ugly, how much of that is his fault is anyone's guess. And prior to being in Edmonton, he had been a successful coach in the AHL with Toronto -- enough so that he was a very hot coaching commodity the summer he was hired by Edmonton.
And generally speaking, Eakins has seemed to know what he's talking about when you put in him front of a microphone (Kevin actually wrote about this, indirectly, at one point last year). He seems to be of a fairly progressive mind when it comes to his style of coaching, and he was a guy that at least some Toronto fans wanted to see as their next head coach before he left for Edmonton.
There's some potential there. But we haven't seen the results yet at the NHL level, and maybe we never will. It'd be a bit of an unexpected hire by Ron Hextall and Ed Snider, and it'd be a bit of a risky one. So who knows if anything comes of it. But the reward could be high, and I guess it's good to see them thinking outside the box.
As mentioned, we'll have some much more thorough thoughts on Eakins in the near future.