Panthers Insider

Eakins' Coaching Started With Neilson

Roger Neilson's influence helped steer new Oilers bench boss Dallas Eakins into coaching while both were with the Panthers.
Tuesday, 06.11.2013 / 3:40 PM ET
By Glenn Odebralski - FloridaPanthers.com / Panthers Insider
X
Share with your Friends


Panthers Insider
Roger Neilson helped influence Dallas Eakins to get into coaching while both were with the Panthers.

Named the Edmonton Oilers new head coach on Monday, Dallas Eakins’ Florida roots has helped to shape his career path.

Not only was the Oilers' 12th coach in franchise history born in the state of Florida, living the first seven years of his life in Dade City, which is roughly less than hour north of Tampa, but Eakins attributes his professional choice to some sound advice from the Panthers first head coach in franchise history. See it was there where Roger Neilson put the idea in Eakins' head about life after hockey.

"I would like to thank my great friend Roger Neilson who told me on many occasions that my mark in the NHL would be made as a coach because I wasn't a very good player," quipped Eakins in his opening statement at his introductory press conference.

Eakins was drafted by the Washington Capitals in the 10th round (208th overall) in the 1985 NHL Entry Draft but didn't make his NHL debut until the 1992-93 season with Winnipeg, playing in 14 games. He signed as a free agent with Florida on July 14, 1993 and became the only Florida native to play in the NHL [at the time]  when he suited up on Nov. 23, 1993, against Hartford.

The defenseman would play 41 of his 120 NHL games with the Panthers, including 18 under the Hockey Hall of Famer, but it was the time spent not playing that truly helped him during the two years with the Panthers.

"Roger Nielson, first and foremost, his work ethic," said Eakins. "We never really saw the game quite the same way but he taught me a ton about the game."

Bouncing around hockey from the time he turned pro in 1988 until retiring following the 2003-04 season, Eakins has made the transition from player to coach (spending the last four years as head coach of AHL’s Toronto Marlies) and he still leans on what he recalls while sitting in the press box as a healthy scratch.

"I played in about 800 different cities," said Eakins. "A lot of times I was a healthy scratch, especially at the NHL level, and I wasn’t just sitting upstairs eating popcorn. I was taking notes."

And that led him to Monday where he could think back to where it all really kicked off.

"I think it's a proud day because I've worked hard at this trade. I think it's something that's come naturally," said Eakins. "I think I knew that Roger was right, that I knew coaching was in my blood."

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Jagr 79 27 39 23 66
J. Jokinen 81 18 42 25 60
A. Barkov 66 28 31 18 59
J. Huberdeau 76 20 39 17 59
V. Trocheck 76 25 28 15 53
R. Smith 82 25 25 19 50
A. Ekblad 78 15 21 18 36
N. Bjugstad 67 15 19 -8 34
B. Campbell 82 6 25 31 31
B. Pirri 52 11 13 -4 24
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 35 19 6 .922 2.35
A. Montoya 12 7 3 .919 2.18

 
FloridaPanthers.com is the official Web site of the Florida Panthers. Florida Panthers and floridapanthers.com are trademarks of the Florida Panthers Hockey Club, Ltd. NHL, the NHL Shield, the word mark and image of the Stanley Cup and NHL Conference logos are registered trademarks and NHL Draft name and logo are trademarks of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2016 Florida Panthers Hockey Club, Ltd and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.