Eakins flies into San Diego hot seat

One season your stock is hot, the next it’s a cold as ice with fans and pundits writing you off, left, right and centre.

Whilst coach of the Toronto Marlies, Dallas Eakins was a highly touted head coach who many Leafs fans wanted in charge during and after Randy Carlyle’s tenure in Toronto.
Eakins left the Marlies with a 157-114-41 record in four seasons where he took the team from a losing record to a Calder Cup final appearance in 2012.

The former defenseman’s reign in Edmonton as head coach of the Oilers did not go as he or the club may have hoped and he was fired in December of 2014, less than 18 months into the job.
A 7-19-5 start to the 2014-15 season was the reason for his departure but this was a team who never bought into his defensive systems, despite their obvious frailties in their own zone.

Rumours had been banded about that Eakins was due to take a job in the WHL, with Vancouver Giants specifically, but it was announced via the Twitter account of the San Diego Gulls that he was to take their vacant head coaching position.
In the seemingly cyclical nature of hockey, Anaheim moved their franchise to San Diego from Norfolk, who Dallas Eakins Marlies lost to in the aforementioned Calder Finals (Norfolk were Tampa’s affiliate at that time).

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It will be no easy task for Eakins in his new role for various reasons. Norfolk finished last season with the second least amount of victories in the AHL and were the lowest scorers with a mere 168 goals.
The Pacific Division that San Diego find themselves in might just turn out to be the toughest in the AHL.
Bakersfield Condors (were OKC Barons): A winning record in five years of existence, making playoffs each season.
Ontario Reign (were Manchester Monarchs): Consistently top AHL team and current Calder Champions.
Texas Stars: Former Calder Cup Champions and been a force during last three seasons.
San Antonio Rampage, San Jose Barracuda and Stockton Heat: Each will be a unknown force but have promising rosters for next season.

With expectations so low perhaps this is the perfect job for Dallas Eakins to rebuild his slightly broken reputation, in what is hardly a hotbed of hockey.
I’m sure he’ll have learnt a lot from his experience in Edmonton and will be looking to replicate his previous success in the AHL.

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