Anaheim Ducks’ general manager Bob Murray isn’t making excuses for his team missing the playoffs for a second straight season.
The Ducks finished 13th in the Western Conference, and won’t be part of the NHL’s 24-team return to play plans in July, but that doesn’t mean Murray isn’t looking to use the hiatus to look at which areas the team can improve.
Murray caught with NHL.com’s Brian Compton, and was asked about Dallas Eakins’ performance in his first year as Anaheim’s head coach:
“I thought [Dallas] was very organized, very well-prepared,” Murray said. “I thought the communication was good early, [but] it got off track a little bit. I think he had to get rid of some of the things that came from Edmonton, and I think those are gone now. He was very, very hard on some young people in Edmonton, and it kind of backfired on him there. I’m not saying it’s all his fault, by the way. I’m saying just that whole situation was kind of … I think he took the foot off the gas a bit with them. I just know he’s going to be much more consistent and on point with things with everybody next year. He had to get a few of the things out of the way, and he did.”
Eakins tenure got off to a good start, with the Ducks winning nine out of their first 15 games. when things went off the rails. Anaheim would only win eight times in their next 31 games, falling out of the playoff race in the Western Conference.
The Ducks will need to improve in every aspect to get back into the postseason. Anaheim’s underlying 5-on-5 numbers are not encouraging, with the team finishing 29th in expected goals percentage, and 25th in shot-share. The Ducks’ special teams were near the bottom of the league, with their power play ranked 30th in the NHL at 14.7%, while the penalty killing was a bit better and wound up ranking 26th.
What do you think of Eakins’ performance during his first year as head coach? Do you see the Ducks improving with hime behind the bench?
On to some more links:
Will the Ducks be allowed to hold a training camp during the playoffs? The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun says the league and NHLPA are discussing options for the seven non-playoff teams.
How would you build the prototypical NHL defenseman and forward? ESPN is doing a series on which skills and attributes they would take from players around the league to build the perfect version.