What a difference a year makes.
When the Anaheim Ducks brought back Randy Carlyle after firing Bruce Boudreau last summer, the move was met with ridicule. Many, understandably, believed that he couldn’t adjust with the times.
Instead, he enjoyed a largely successful re-debut in 2016-17 that included a Pacific Division title and run to the Western Conference Final, so the Ducks rewarded him on Friday. He was handed a one-year contract extension with the team, so he’s now locked up through 2018-19.
(There’s also an option for 2019-20.)
Now, sports teams are notorious for giving coaches extensions and then firing them with time remaining, but the Ducks probably qualify as a “budget” contender of sorts in the NHL. So you’d think they’d be a bit more reluctant to give away money if there’s a risk of parting ways with Carlyle.
“We made great strides this past season and clearly Randy was at the center of that,” GM Bob Murray said. “He’s committed to this organization and to winning another Stanley Cup. Extending his contract was an easy decision for us.”
Aiming for a second Cup is the goal. Another big challenge might be navigating the choppy waters following the expansion draft, as the deep Ducks figure to be a high-profile target for poaching.
There’s far more optimism that this organization can roll with the punches after Carlyle showed surprising ability to adapt in his first year back.