The list of potential candidates for Vancouver’s vacant bench boss position is being assembled.
The Canucks have reportedly asked Toronto permission to speak with Dallas Eakins about their head coaching gig, according to CBC’s Elliotte Friedman.
Friedman announced the news during the Hockey Night in Canada panel session of Saturday’s Detroit-Chicago game, confirming the Canucks have interest in the longtime head coach of the Maple Leafs’ AHL affiliate, the Toronto Marlies.
Eakins, 46, has been coaching the Marlies since 2009 and is regarded as one of the AHL’s finest coaches. He took the Marlies to the 2012 Calder Cup finals and has posted a .632 winning percentage in each of his last two seasons.
A former NHLer with over 120 games on his resume, Eakins has ties to the Canucks organization.
He finished his playing career with Vancouver’s then-AHL affiliate, the Manitoba Moose, in 2003-04. His head coach at the time was Stan Smyl, Vancouver’s current senior advisor of hockey operations.
(The ’03-04 Moose team also featured appearances from current Canucks Ryan Kesler, Alex Burrows and Kevin Bieksa. Also on that team? Nolan Baumgartner, currently an associate head coach with Vancouver’s current AHL affiliate, the Chicago Wolves.)
Eakins also has NHL coaching experience, having served as a Leafs assistant from 2005-08.
If the Canucks are courting Eakins, it would be interesting to have heard the conversation between Vancouver GM Mike Gillis and Toronto’s Dave Nonis.
Their relationship was described as “toxic” in April when negotiations to trade Roberto Luongo crumbled at the NHL trade deadline.