Is Randy Carlyle a serious candidate for the Ducks' head coaching job?

UNIONDALE, NY - OCTOBER 21: Randy Carlyle of the Toronto Maple Leafs looks on from the bench against the New York Islanders at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on October 21, 2014 in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images) (Getty)

The Anaheim Ducks will take a look backwards in order to try to take a step forward.

According to TSN’s Darren Dreger, the Ducks will meet with former coach Randy Carlyle about replacing Bruce Boudreau as the team’s head coach. The Ducks replaced Carlyle in 2011 with Boudreau and Boudreau was fired at the end of April.

The 60-year-old Carlyle led the Ducks to their only Stanley Cup championship, when they beat the Ottawa Senators in five games in 2007. He held a 230-155-49 overall record with Anaheim and a 27-19 postseason record.

The decision to look at Carlyle could be seen as controversial, considering his recent coaching past.

He’s considered an old-school disciplinarian who hasn’t meshed well with hockey’s analytics movement. The latter was often pointed out during Carlyle’s time with the Toronto Maple Leafs where he had a 91-78-19 record and led the group to one playoff appearance.

Despite some of his on-ice accomplishments, his struggles with analytics became a major part of his narrative and could be a reason why he’s yet to land a job since being fired early in 2015.

A story from May of 2014 from Sportsnet explained how Carlyle’s underlying numbers from his systems weren’t great, especially in comparison to Boudreau.

When Boudreau replaced Carlyle in Anaheim, the Ducks Corsi% got about 4.5 percent better. When Carlyle replaced Wilson in Toronto, the Maple Leafs’ Corsi% got about 4.5 percent worse.

While, 4.5 percent may not seem like a lot, it’s actually a massive swing.

When Anaheim Ducks general manager Bob Murray fired Boudreau he was asked about trying to find someone opposite of Boudreau, who was known as one of the more easygoing coaches in the NHL. Murray seemed to chafe at the idea of someone like Carlyle, without naming names.

“You cannot do what the old guys did in the old days. I don’t think you can, and I even think some of those guys that are older that are still coaching in this league, that are good, have changed their ways somewhat to deal with the new modern athlete,” Murray said. “There’s a bunch of guys out there. This is a huge choice for us. We’re going to take our time; do all our homework.”

Murray praised Jon Cooper with the Tampa Bay Lightning as the type of coach who is perfect for today’s day and age. But really guys like Cooper are few and far between.

Cooper never played in the NHL and went to Hofstra undergrad and Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Lansing, Michigan. He’s a hockey coach, but not a hockey lifer.

The Ducks have also reportedly interviewed former Minnesota Wild coach Mike Yeo and Utica Comets coach Travis Green, who made the Calder Cup Final last season. Green has also reportedly been interviewed by the Calgary Flames. He falls under the ‘Jon Cooper’ mold as up-and-coming coach, but unlike Cooper is a former NHL player with 970 career games.

Maybe being fired twice since 2011 has humbled Carlyle to a degree to where he’s one of those coaches who, as Murray said, has “changed their ways” for today’s hockey player.

One of Boudreau’s supposed faults was the belief that he struggled behind the bench in the face of pressure, which was considered in part why Anaheim lost four straight Game 7s on home ice. Carlyle’s strength is considered his management of his team’s bench, according to TSN’s Gary Lawless last October.

Carlyle isn't easy on an organization. He likes things done a certain way and there's no grey area. It's either right or it's wrong and there's hell to pay when it's the latter. From the training staff to the players to the P.R. department, he can be thorny.

He demands a high standard of everyone involved and he's not much of a politician. He can be caustic and cutting.

But there aren't many better bench managers in the game. Carlyle knows how to handle a veteran group and how to get the most out of a lineup.

The LA Daily news pointed out why Carlyle seemed to wear out his welcome near the end of his time in Anaheim, which could point to this being a poor fit.

While it became clear at the end of his six-year-plus run that the Ducks, in particular top players Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, had grown tired of Carlyle and needed a more player-friendly coach, Carlyle’s prodding in the early days pushed a talented team over the top in 2007.

Negatives would be that his demanding ways wear on a team over time and that his dump-and-chase style of hockey goes against an NHL that is increasingly about puck possession, with teams using more analytics to shape their rosters and systems.

The Ducks’ next coach will a ready-made championship contender in 2016-17. Anaheim has some decisions to make with their goaltenders, such as trading pending restricted free agents Frederik Andersen, and whether they should keep some of their defensemen.

But those choices are being forced mostly out of organizational depth created by Murray. While there have been questions about the Ducks’ leadership of late, the Western Conference Champion San Jose Sharks have proved that re-finding the path with your core can sometimes trump major changes. Before the season the Ducks were a Cup favorite.

Anaheim still has these important pieces, but in order to figure out how to use them properly, the need the right coach. Do they really think Carlyle is that guy? The answer will come soon.


- - - - - - -

Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!