There are a lot of teams that just sit around after firing their head coach and wait forever to name a replacement. The Edmonton Oilers are obviously not one of those teams, as they are introducing Dallas Eakins as their new coach on Monday, two days after firing Ralph Krueger.
Eakins moves up the organization after being the head coach of the team’s AHL affiliate this past season. I believe that he is walking into a nearly perfect situation.
The Oilers are on the upswing in a big way with their young core of No. 1 overall picks. Taylor Hall and Nail Yakupov look like they are about to bust out and become players who can average over a point a game. Hall did that this season and Yakupov led the team in goals. It’s not like the team was terrible as they finished only three games under the .500 mark. Eakins was being looked at by some other teams, and probably would have went elsewhere if Edmonton didn’t make this swift move.
I am concerned over the fact that the Oilers are on their third coach in as many years, though. The leash may be very short for Eakins in this coming season if he can’t lead Edmonton into the playoffs. If I was going to make a bold prediction right now, it would be that the Oilers do make the playoffs next season in the realigned NHL’s Western Conference.
I’m not sure how good they will be overall, but this is a playoff team. Eakins is a very lucky man to be able to coach this amount of solid young talent.