Eakins, the coach of the AHL’s Toronto Marlies, is set to become the franchise’s 12th coach. The 46-year-old will replace Ralph Krueger, who was fired by Oilers GM Craig MacTavish on Saturday.
Krueger spent one season as head coach after serving as an associate coach for two seasons.
MacTavish, who took over as general manager this spring, said the team was "very close" to hiring a new coach. But he said the deal hasn't been formalized, yet, and wouldn't say who it was.
Shortly after Krueger’s ousting, several reports, including one from Elliotte Friedman of Hockey Night in Canada’s Hotstove show, said MacTavish wants Eakins to run his young team.
The Oilers, who are loaded with top young players like Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Nail Yakupov, will have their third coach in three seasons.
"During the process of me conducting those interviews, I recognized I was trying to add a coach that was more closely aligned with the way I wanted to run the team and less about supporting Ralph and the head coach of our team at the time," MacTavish said during a press conference on Saturday announcing Krueger’s dismissal.
Eakins has been linked to coaching vacancies in Vancouver and New York.
The former NHL player began his stint in the Toronto Maple Leafs organization as an assistant coach in 2006. He became head coach with the Marlies in 2009.
Last season, Eakins led the Marlies to the Calder Cup final before losing to Norfolk.
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