On June 6, Randy Carlyle will officially be exactly 17 months removed from his last coaching job, when he patrolled the bench for the Toronto Maple Leafs. But Carlyle’s absence from an NHL bench might not last much longer as he’s reportedly in the running to take over a job that was once his half a decade ago: coach of the Anaheim Ducks.
According to TSN’s Darren Dreger, Carlyle is no longer just a potential candidate to take over as Ducks’ coach, he’s the real thing. Dreger reported Tuesday that Carlyle was set to meet with the Ducks about the opening — one that has been vacant for more than a month. That could mean a potential return to Anaheim is coming.
Carlyle has a long and somewhat successful history with the Ducks. During his six and a quarter-year tenure with Anaheim, Carlyle posted a 273-182-61 record, coached the Ducks to the franchise’s only Stanley Cup, made the post-season in five of his six full seasons and won seven playoff rounds before a rocky start to the 2011-12 campaign saw Carlyle axed in favor of Bruce Boudreau. With Boudreau out after continued post-season stumbles, though, Carlyle could find his way back to his old gig.
Some would probably consider the move an odd strategy for the Ducks, were they to bring Carlyle aboard. Not many teams bring in a coach they once fired so soon after he departs the first time, but the Ducks aren’t in a position where a massive step backwards is needed. Maybe Ducks GM Bob Murray believes that bringing an experienced coach — and Carlyle is, if nothing else, experienced — into the job could get this team back into the winner’s circle faster than if a brand new bench boss was brought aboard. That could be doubly true since Carlyle has worked with and has a relationship with Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf, who were the Ducks’ two leading scorers during the 2006-07 Stanley Cup run.
The one concerning thing about bringing Carlyle aboard, though, may be that his style of play may not be one that could actually get Anaheim over the hump and deliver the team playoff success.
Whether you’re a believer in advanced statistics or not, five of the past six Stanley Cup champions have had possession numbers in the top four of the league. The outlier is the Boston Bruins in 2010-11, but they were helped to the Cup by an almost unfathomable performance by netminder Tim Thomas. Carlyle’s Maple Leafs over his two full seasons in Toronto had an overall possession rating of 43.3 percent. From the beginning of the 2007-08 season until Carlyle’s final full season in Anaheim in 2010-11, the Ducks’ overall possession rate was 48.1 percent. That indicates his style doesn’t exactly boost possession numbers.
Carlyle isn’t the only coach in the mix for the Ducks’ job, however. Dreger reported Vancouver Canucks AHL bench boss Travis Green is in the running for the job, and reports have indicated that former Minnesota Wild coach Mike Yeo may also be a candidate. At this point, though, there’s no indication who the leader for the position is.
(Advanced stats via Stats.HockeyAnalysis.com)