Dallas Eakins has been hired as the new coach of the Edmonton Oilers, according to CBC Sports.
The deal, according to Darren Dreger of TSN, is for four years:
Dallas Eakins gets a 4 yr deal from the Oilers. Perhaps, the time needed to continue to a young group into a contender. #TSN— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) June 10, 2013
The 46-year-old will replace Ralph Krueger, who was fired after one year behind the bench. Eakins becomes the 12th coach in team history.
Is this a good move for the Oilers?
Eakins was most recently the coach the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League, where he led them to the second round of the playoffs this year. Last season, he brought the Marlies to the Finals before losing in four games.
The Oilers finished third in the Northwest division with 45 points, 10 points out of a playoff spot.
However, the team does boast an impressive core of young talent, including Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Nail Yakupov.
Eakins told the assembled media that he will lead the team into a winning future, per the Oilers' official Twitter account:
"In professional sports, winning is the bottom line. Everything we do here will have that in mind." - Head Coach Dallas Eakins— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) June 10, 2013
Despite the nucleus of young talent, the Oilers will seek to upgrade a defense that allowed 2.7 goals per game, and a goaltender in Devan Dubnyk who had a pedestrian 2.57 goals-against average.
This will be Eakins' first NHL heading coaching job. Before spending four seasons as the head coach of the Marlies, Eakins served in various roles within the Toronto Maples Leafs organization, including a year as Director of Player Development and two years as an assistant coach.
Teams such as the New York Rangers, Vancouver Canucks and Dallas Stars had been interested in Eakins' services, according to James Mirtle of The Globe and Mail. However, Eakins believed that the Oilers were the right team for him, as Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star points out:
Eakins: My heart, my gut and my family told me this (EDM) was the right spot. #Oilers— Kevin McGran (@kevin_mcgran) June 10, 2013
Eakins played in 120 NHL games as a defenseman with eight different teams before becoming a coach.