Author: Mike Halford

Dallas Eakins

Ducks hire Eakins for AHL gig


Dallas Eakins has landed back behind in the bench — but in the American League, not the NHL.

On Friday, the former Edmonton head coach was named the new bench boss of the San Diego Gulls, Anaheim’s AHL affiliate. The move returns Eakins to the league in which he got his coaching start; he started as an assistant with the Toronto Marlies in 2005, eventually taking the head coaching gig before an ill-fated stint in Edmonton.

With the Gulls — previously the Norfolk Admirals — Eakins will get to work with a number of Anaheim’s young prospects, which could include former first-rounders Stefan Noesen, Shea Theodore and, possibly, Nick Ritchie, who the club took 10th overall at the 2014 NHL Entry Draft.

Prior to accepting the San Diego job, Eakins had been on the radar for Philly’s then-vacant coaching spot — later filled by Dave Hakstol — and also interviewed for the head coaching gig in WHL Vancouver.

During his one-and-a-half seasons in Edmonton, Eakins compiled a 36-63-14 record.

Get to know a draft pick — Jack Eichel

BU's Jack Eichel A Standout At World Junior Training Camp
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Like we’ve done in the past, we’re profiling top prospects who may hear their names called Friday in the first round of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. But this year, something new — we’re featuring special guest analysis from former Minnesota Wild scout Mark Seidel, who currently serves as the president of North American Central Scouting.

Jack Eichel (C)

Height: 6’2 Weight: 196 Shoots: Right

Team: Boston University (NCAA)

Country: U.S.

NHL Central Scouting ranking: No. 2 among North American Skaters

What kind of player is he?

The most ballyhooed American hockey talent in recent memory — perhaps ever.

Though he only spent one year at the collegiate level, Eichel made a big impression. He scored a whopping 71 points in 40 games and became just the second freshman ever to win the Hobey Baker as the top player in NCAA hockey — and the first to do it since Paul Kariya in 1993.

Scouts have lauded all of the 18-year-old’s physical tools and on-ice skills, but also love his determination and competitiveness. It’s why Eichel, all but assured to go second overall, has and will likely continue to be compared to the No. 1 pick in this draft, Connor McDavid.

Seidel says:

“Eichel combines good size with tremendous quickness, often using his physical size to ward off defenders and makes plays for his teammates. His defensive game has continued to improve and he’ll be a premier center for years to come in Buffalo. Eichel would have gone first overall in any draft over the last decade — this year he trails McDavid, but nobody else.”

NHL comparable: Ryan Johansen

For more 2015 NHL Draft profiles, click here.

Lucic would accept trade to Vancouver

Milan Lucic

Milan Lucic has a controversial history with Vancouver, but is willing to return to the city he calls home.

On Friday, Lucic told PHT’s Dhiren Mahiban he’d be willing to accept a trade to Vancouver, should such a deal arise. The Bruins forward, who has a 15-team no-trade clause, grew up in East Vancouver and played junior hockey for the WHL Giants before getting drafted in 2006 by the Bruins — back when current Canucks GM Jim Benning was an assistant in Boston.

It’s important to note there’s no trade pending for Lucic, nor have the Bruins asked him to waive. That said, the Canucks have reportedly inquired about the 27-year-old power forward, despite the fact they’re facing a salary cap crunch and would have to clear significant space to afford Lucic’s $6 million hit.

Slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer, Lucic has been at the center of trade talks for some time. In April, the Boston Globe reported he was under consideration to be moved; Lucic’s name then resurfaced two days ago, shortly after new GM Don Sweeney said he’d spoken with numerous other NHL GMs and was “feeling the heat” to improve the B’s roster.

As mentioned above, Lucic has history with Vancouver, and not all of it good. After video of a physical altercation outside of a downtown restaurant surfaced in 2013, Lucic delivered a stinging criticism.

“I have no reason left to defend my city and the people in my city,” he said, per the Vancouver Sun. “I’m disgusted and outraged that it had to come to something like that.”

Shortly thereafter, Lucic re-embraced Vancouver and expressed remorse about his comments, saying “I am still, and always will be, proud to be from there. It is home.”