Recently several teams in the NHL have been looking for new a head coach. The Ottawa Senators picked Guy Boucher as their new head coach and Marc Crawford as their assistant coach. After Bruce Boudreau was let go by Anaheim, he was then quickly hired by the Minnesota Wild. Calgary and Anaheim are both still looking for a new head coach.
This past week John Shannon of Sportsnet said that Randy Carlyle is being looked at by the Anaheim Ducks. Carlyle joins the list of a few candidates that have been mentioned recently, which officially include Paul MacLean, Trent Yawney, Travis Green, and Luke Richardson.
Carlyle would be an interesting choice in Anaheim because he was with the organization already as the head coach. There are some reasons why he may be a good fit again in Anaheim, but there also concerns he brings as he would be a recycled coach from the past.
Why Carlyle Could Work In Anaheim
Carlyle first coached the then Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in the 2005-06 season. He led the team to the Western Conference Final for the second time in franchise history losing to the Edmonton Oilers. The next season, the organization changed their name to the Anaheim Ducks and team colors as well. Carlyle took the Ducks all way in the 2006-07 season to the franchise’s first ever and only Stanley Cup championship. He went on to coach in Anaheim for four more full seasons and part of the 2011-12 season. The Ducks made the playoffs three of those four full seasons he coached, but didn’t advance past the second round.
Carlyle ended up coaching just over six seasons in Anaheim with a 273-182-61 record. Anaheim had a winning record every season under Carlyle, which included the 2009-10 season when Anaheim didn’t make the playoffs. They had a record of 39-32-11 and missed the playoffs by six points.
Carlyle’s coaching style has been known for focusing on forechecking, playing gritty hockey, and utilizing the dump and chase. In the second half of this past season, the Anaheim Ducks were an excellent forechecking team. The additions of David Perron and Jamie McGinn brought some more grit to the lineup because of their willingness to deliver checks and go to the net. Anaheim wasn’t great at the dump and chase tactic this season, but Carlyle could improve on that if given the opportunity. He has been known not to change his lineup up too frequently, which could bring more chemistry to an Anaheim squad that was used to regular lineup changes under the Bruce Boudreau era.
Why Carlyle Would Not Work In Anaheim
One critique of Carlyle’s coaching style has been the use of his lineup. He has been known not to change his lineups often, which could help with team chemistry, but sometimes in game adjustments are needed especially when the offense is lacking. Where Boudreau was criticized for changing his lines too often, Carlyle was questioned when he didn’t make enough changes. With so many RFAs and UFAs this summer, he would have to find chemistry with a new roster that would require some line juggling in the fall.
Another concern was how Carlyle left on bad terms in Anaheim with the players, specifically Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry. Carlyle and the players didn’t agree with how the game should be played when he last coached in Anaheim during the 2011-12 season. Most of the team has changed since then with only Getzlaf, Perry, Andrew Cogliano, and Cam Fowler as the remaining players from that season.
It would be interesting to see how Getzlaf and Perry would interact with Carlyle if he was indeed to return for a second stint in Anaheim. This situation may be one that GM Bob Murray would want to avoid given the past history. The new coach needs to be able to function with the team’s leadership moving forward and Carlyle may not be the right fit in Anaheim.
Whether it’s Carlyle or another person, the new head coach is going to need to guide Anaheim’s team leadership next season and beyond. Two thirds of Anaheim’s leadership, Getzlaf and Perry, have received the brunt of the criticism after the first round exit to the Nashville Predators. The new coach will have to motivate the team leaders, which could even include changing some leadership roles on the team. Ultimately, the new coach is going to have to find a way to get the team to achieve at a higher level in the playoffs if they hope to reach the Stanley Cup Final once again.