With a young, and rebuilding team, Anaheim Ducks’ general manager Bob Murray needs to make sure the culture around the organization is one that will foster growth.
Murray joined Sportsnet’s “Hockey Central” on Tuesday to clarify remarks he made about head coach Dallas Eakins last week:
“I was trying to get across the point that I kind of left Dallas high and dry,” Murray said. “Because of what had happened the year before, when I let Randy [Carlyle] go, went down behind the bench and then I brought Dallas in, and with his experience [with the] Edmonton [Oilers], I felt I had to get away and distance myself for his own good. And I left him high and dry. I should’ve been around him more, I should’ve helped him more.”
Eakins’ first year behind the Ducks bench got off to a promising start, with the team going 9-6-0 through the first 15 games. Things got rough after that, however, with Anaheim only winning eight out of its next 31 contests.
The Ducks finished the shortened 2019-20 season 13th in the Western Conference with a record of 29-33-9, failing to make the playoffs for the second-straight season.
It was a similar situation for Eakins in Edmonton, when coached a young Oilers team for two seasons. Edmonton struggled with Eakins behind the bench, going 36-63-14.
Still, Murray is confident that with the right structure in place, Eakins can help the Ducks get back to being one of the top clubs in the NHL.
“I’m happy with where Dallas has taken the team. I really believe it started good last year, there was a little problem in the middle, and then it was getting righted near the end. We made a few trades, and it was going in the right direction. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to finish the year because I think we would’ve finished pretty well.”
Anaheim will have the opportunity to add a quality young piece at the NHL Draft. The first part of the 2020 NHL Draft Lottery is scheduled for June 26, where the Ducks will have the fifth-best odds to get the top pick at 8.5%
On to some more links:
As I mentioned above, it will be critical for Eakins and Murray to set the tone in the building for the young players. The Hockey News’ Ryan Kennedy talked to Eakins about what it takes to set the culture in the locker room.
We might not be expecting much for the newly signed Kodie Curran. The Athletic’s Eric Stephens wrote a nice piece on why we shouldn’t count out the defenseman.
A former Duck is one of the finalists for a major NHL award. Bobby Ryan is one of three players nominated for the Bill Masterton Trophy. (The Score)
The remainder of the 2019-20 regular season will be played without fans in attendance. The Associated Press went in-depth on what to expect with the COVID-19 outbreak being a major concern going into next year. (h/t NBC Sports)