With the Anaheim Ducks off to a 1-5-1 start, their worst record through seven games in franchise history (the 1996-97 team went 1-9-2 in their first twelve but had two ties in the first four games), the buzzards circling head coach Bruce Boudreau seem to grow greater in number every day.
With serious questions about Boudreau's job security now seemingly part of the every day churn of hockey media coverage, the big question to be answered is "should Boudreau get fired, who takes his place?" Gary Lawless of TSN floated the idea that Randy Carlyle could return, a notion which we showed has no historical track record of success. Three days ago Puck Daddy's Greg Wyshynski put together a 'nightmare scenario odds' piece that had some tongue-in-cheek suggestions as well as other serious potential names.
On who the Ducks might name as head coach, if they were to fire Bruce Boudreau:
"I think it's probably going to be Trent Yawney, if they fire Bruce. And he's already there. Their assistants are (Rich Preston), they have Paul MacLean and they have Trent Yawney. My guess is it's going to be Trent Yawney, if they make the change.
Trent's Track Record
Yawney immediately entered the coaching ranks after retiring as a Chicago Blackhawk following the 98-99 season. Here's a look at his full coaching career track record, via HockeyDB:
Yawney's first run with the Admirals was when the club was affiliated with Chicago, guiding the Blackhawks AHL side to a 189-144-41-26 regular season record and 16-20 playoff record.
His stint as the Blackhawks coach in 05-06 was with a roster featuring leading scorers Kyle Calder, Mark Bell, and Tyler Arnasson, but also saw promising rookies Duncan Keith (who lead the team with 23:26 average ice time per game) and Brent Seabrook (who averaged 20:02) make their debuts. He was turfed in favor of Denis Savard in 06-07. Yawney spent three seasons as an assistant for Todd McLellan in San Jose before joining the Ducks organization.
While With Anaheim
Yawney replaced Mark Holick as the head coach of the Syracuse Crunch midseason in 11-12, transferring to Norfolk as the Ducks moved their affiliation from the New York-based club to Virginia. In Yawney's two following seasons with the Admirals Norfolks finished with the sixth fewest goals scored and 17th in goals allowed in 12-13, then the fifth fewest goals allowed but ninth fewest goals scored in 13-14.
A third round pick of the Blackhawks in 1984, Yawney and general manager Bob Murray's NHL careers overlapped by three years from 87-88 to 89-90. With nearly 600 games of NHL experience as a hard-nosed defenseman, Yawney is the sort of intense, defense-first personality that appeals to how the Anaheim GM played the game. It would follow in pattern with going from a more open, 'players' type coach in Boudreau to a more demanding, 'disciplinarian' type.
With Yawney having been on the Ducks bench the last two seasons the players are familiar with him, but the question remains that considering the issues for Anaheim are with the offense at the moment, why would the move be to bring in a more defensively-inclined coach? Defense has been the area of Yawney's focus as an assistant, and with the Ducks currently giving up more shots than they average (27.6 shots vs 31.0 shots against) the question is how much is that disparity due to struggles with coverage in the defensive zone vs lack of execution offensively.
If anything the move further shows just how tough the decision to fire Boudreau will be, considering there is no 'slam dunk' replacement available on the market. Yawney is a former minor pro coach of the year, named by the Hockey News in 03-04. However promoting a defensive assistant, whose AHL teams for the organization struggled to score, feels like it would be an underwhelming move for a team with title aspirations at the beginning of the season.