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The Ducks will need a real coach. Who’s it going to be?

New coach, new Ducks. I mean new GM-coach, new Ducks. Wait… no. New coach, new Ducks.

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As the Ducks prepare to kick things off with their new GM/coach, Bob Murray, let’s take a look at some of the potential coaching options.

This list is not in any particular order and is purely speculative on my part. If there is someone I left out or another name you’d like to see considered, please leave a comment.

NHLI via Getty Images

1) Joel Quennville

Age: 60

Current or Most Recent Team: Chicago Blackhawks

Why he is wanted:

Coach Q is a candidate for obvious reasons. He is one of the winningest coaches in NHL history. He has three Stanley Cups to his name, winning his first in 2010, his second in 2013 and then again in 2015. He has a track record of being well-liked by his players and was quoted by Corey Crawford as being “one of the guys”. An intense guy, he is reputed to prefer to keep things within the locker room. Those who know him say that he can be hard on younger players, but due to team construction in Chicago, he was forced to let the reins go a bit and allow some of the kids to play. He famously out-coached Bruce Boudreau in the 2015 playoffs and has been described as an excellent in-game manager.

Why the Ducks may not be a fit:

Coach Q will be the most sought after coach this off-season. Competition for his services will create a justifiably high salary which Ducks ownership may not want to take on. The Ducks are also moving into a re-build or re-tool mode, and Coach Q has already said he does not want to be part of that type of process.

2) Rikard Grönborg

Age: 49

Current or Most Recent Team: Sweden Men’s National Team

Why he is wanted:

RG (3?) is the most recent coach of Sweden’s Men’s National Team and has been at the forefront of coaching and development in Sweden. It is not a stretch to claim that any decent to great player from Sweden has ties to Grönborg.

In a recent podcast I heard him mention that he and his fellow coaches got together to discuss what kind of team they had heading into the Olympics, freely figuring out the team’s strengths and weaknesses. This, of course, happens with all teams, but, suprisingly and not conventionally, Grönborg then had the same conversation with his team, wanting to see what they thought of themselves. I thought this was a cool bit of insight into how he feels, and it reflects a desire to get the most out of players and make sure everyone is pulling in the same direction. Grönborg has also announced that he will no longer be coaching Sweden’s National team past the 2018-2019 season, indicating that he’s NHL-bound whether it is with the Ducks or not.

Why the Ducks may not be a fit:

In this article on, he mentions wanting to break away from the copy-cat style of the NHL and partner with a GM/organization who is willing to put its neck out a bit or choose to take the next step. Bob Murray can be a polarizing GM, but one thing the majority of Ducks fans can agree on is his lack of “going for it”. Anaheim has a lot of Swedish talent and that may be a draw for Grönborg, but it is hard to imagine a progressive coach like himself blending well with the more “old school”, “better safe than sorry” approach that GMBM has taken during his tenure.


3) Dallas Eakins

Age: 51

Current or Most Recent Team: San Diego Gulls (AHL)

Why he is wanted:

It is impossible to ignore that Eakins has a step on these other candidates. Currently coaching the San Diego Gulls, the AHL affiliate of the Anaheim Ducks, he just surpassed 300 career AHL wins as a coach and is well known for his ability to develop young players. Case in point, the surging Gulls are primarily being led by some of the Duck’s top prospects: Troy Terry, Max Jones, Sam Steel, Josh Mahura, among others.

In a recent article by Josh Cooper at The Athletic, Eakins was quoted discussing Troy Terry’s most recent demotion. The quote can be seen as hopeful for Ducks fans and Eakins fans alike:

“I told him, ‘I want you to make plays. And you know what? I know you’re going to turn a puck over every once in a while and I’m going to be OK with it if it’s an educated try,’ ” Eakins recalled. “I wanted to set the tone with him, mindset-wise. I wanted him to know that I believed in him and I wanted him to know, ‘Hey, we want you to make plays. I don’t just want you to come up and dump the puck in. That’s not going to work here.’

“And the last part was I told him I was going to do my best to set him up for success and whatever. If that got his … I think it helped him kind of clear the air and go, ‘OK, this burden I’ve been carrying? It’s up to me to get rid of it.’ ”

Why the Ducks may not be a fit:

While Eakins has proven to be a more than capable AHL coach with a great set of developmental skills, he also failed in his limited time as an NHL coach. He was fired as coach of the Edmonton Oilers after only 18 months. In his defense, that particular team was terrible and only had limited genuine NHL talent. It seems like he has flipped his NHL script a bit, but ultimately, the Ducks may want to go with a coach with a more proven track record of success.

Getty Images

4) Sheldon Keefe

Age: 38

Current or Most Recent Team: Toronto Marlies (AHL)

Why he is wanted:

Keefe is the hot name being touted as the next John Cooper, finding success in any arena he steps into. He led the Junior A Pembrok Lumber Kings to six straight winning seasons, including a championship in the 2011 Royal Bank Cup (National Championship for the JHL).

He then went on to coach the OHL’s Sault St. Marie Greyhounds to three straight winning seasons. Additionally, Keefe won the Matt Leyden Trophy in the 2014-2015 season as the OHL’s top coach and was also named the CHL Coach of the Year. Had it not been for Connor McDavid and the Erie Otters, Keefe and the Greyhounds may have won a championship in his tenure.

In his current position coaching the Toronto Marlies, he has had three straight winning season including winning the Calder Cup last season. Success aside, Keefe is a huge believer in analytics and puck possession hockey.

Why the Ducks may not be a fit:

Although he has been successful everywhere he has coached, he has yet to coach in the NHL. Similarly to Eakins, if the Ducks are leaning towards hiring a more proven coach, Keefe may not be the guy. Also, we know all teams use analytics to a certain degree, but would Bob Murray jell with Keefe who is as analytics-based as they come? Another note, our friends over at broke down Keefe and touched on a spotty personal past here. Would Ducks ownership hire someone with a personal history like Keefe’s?

5) Recycled Veteran Coaches

NHL coaches get rinsed and reused often, so below is a list of a handful of names that could be considered for the position. These names should be familiar to most hockey fans. Not going to dive too deep into these names as they are known commodities around the league and I just do not want the Ducks to hire any of them. Let’s hope for a fresh face for whatever the re-built Ducks look like.

Ken Hitchock – Current Edmonton Oilers’ coach. Previously coached the Dallas Stars and St. Louis Blues.

Todd McLellan – Currently not coaching. Previously coached the Edmonton Oilers and San Jose Sharks.

Mike Yeo – Currently not coaching. Previously coached the St. Louis Blues and Minnesota Wild. Was actually interviewed for the Ducks position before Randy Carlyle: Round 2.

Michel Therrian – Currently not coaching. Previously coached the Montreal Canadiens and Pittsburgh Penguins.

Alain Vigneault – Currently not coaching. Previously coached the New York Rangers and Vancouver Canucks.