The Anaheim Ducks are whittling down candidates for their next head coach.

The Athletic reported Wednesday morning that two candidates -- Dallas Stars assistant coach Todd Nelson and New York Islanders assistant coach Lane Lambert -- are out of contention for the job.

The story also says that Minnesota Duluth head coach Scott Sandelin, who played college hockey and served as an assistant coach at UND, appears to still be in the mix.

The front-runner for the job appears to be Dallas Eakins, the head coach of Anaheim's top minor-league affiliate, the San Diego Gulls.

Since 2015, three NCAA head coaches have made the jump to the NHL: Dave Hakstol (UND to Philadelphia Flyers), Jim Montgomery (Denver to Dallas Stars) and David Quinn (Boston University to New York Rangers).

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The two names that have most frequently come up as potential followers are Sandelin and Providence head coach Nate Leaman. Sandelin interviewed with the Ducks this spring and Leaman reportedly interviewed with the Ottawa Senators.

Tomek turns pro

Former UND goaltender Matej Tomek, who spent two seasons in Grand Forks before transferring to Omaha, has signed a pro contract with a team in his native Slovakia, giving up his final year of college eligibility.

Tomek had one year of eligibility left at Omaha.

Tomek, a third-round draft pick of the Philadelphia Flyers, started just one game last season for the Mavericks and appeared in relief four times. He had a .845 save percentage and a 4.73 goals-against average.

Tomek spent three years in college hockey between UND and Omaha, but played a total of just 171 minutes, 49 seconds -- less than three full games. He spent his transfer year with the Waterloo Black Hawks, where he saw action in 30 games and posted a .907 save percentage and a 2.39 goals-against average.

UND has had four European players in the last 20 years. Three of them -- Tomek, Ludvig Hoff (Norway) and Rastislav Spirko (Slovakia) -- turned pro in their native country before their college eligibility ran out. The fourth was Joel Janatuinen, who just completed four years with UND, but missed half of the season.

Sophomore commits to Minnesota

Minnesota recently received a verbal commitment from sophomore forward Tristan Broz, who played for Blake School and the Fargo Force in the United States Hockey League last season.

That perhaps raised a few eyebrows with the new recruiting rules that have gone into effect: Schools can speak with players on Jan. 1 of their sophomore year, but they can't offer prospects until Aug. 1 before their junior season.

So what happened?

While rules prevent Minnesota from commenting on it, the offer to Broz likely went out before the new recruiting rules went into place in April. It wouldn't be a surprise if there are a few other commits from players who were offered before the new rules took effect.


  • Forward Wade Murphy, who spent two years at UND before transferring to Arizona State for a season, had his rights traded to the Wheeling (W. Va.) Nailers in the ECHL. Since turning pro in 2017, Murphy has played for five different teams in the ECHL: Manchester (N.H.), Worcester (Mass.), Greenville (S.C.), Kalamazoo (Mich.) and Maine.
  • Because he drew in for Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final, former Cloquet (Minn.) High and Minnesota Duluth forward Karson Kuhlman will get his name on the Cup if the Boston Bruins win Game 7 against the St. Louis Blues tonight. The requirements for getting your name on the Cup are to play 41 regular-season games or one Stanley Cup Final game. Kuhlman had not yet met that criteria until Game 6.