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The Daily Skate: Could Scott Sandelin land with the Anaheim Ducks?

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Minnesota Duluth head coach Scott Sandelin talks to reporters during NCHC Media Day earlier this season at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. Clint Austin / Forum News Service

NHL teams went nearly 30 years without hiring a head coach directly from college hockey.

That ended in 2015, when the Philadelphia Flyers hired Dave Hakstol away from UND.

In the last four offseasons, three college coaches have made that jump: Hakstol, Denver's Jim Montgomery to the Dallas Stars and Boston University's David Quinn to the New York Rangers.

Could Scott Sandelin, the former UND defenseman and assistant coach and back-to-back national champion head coach at Minnesota Duluth, be next?

Respected NHL scribe Pierre LeBrun of TSN and The Athletic reported that Sandelin will interview with the Anaheim Ducks this week.

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It's certainly no slam dunk. TSN has reported that at least four others are in the mix : Dallas Stars assistants Rick Bowness and Todd Nelson, New York Islanders associate coach Lane Lambert and the head coach of Anaheim's American Hockey League affiliate, Dallas Eakins.

Hakstol's jump to the NHL has seemingly kicked open the door for college coaches to make the move.

In addition to Montgomery and Quinn following his path, NHL teams have kicked the tires on at least one other college coach this offseason. TSN's Bob McKenzie reported that the Ottawa Senators interviewed Providence head coach Nate Leaman. The Senators ended up hiring D.J. Smith.

Sandelin has been at Minnesota Duluth for the past 19 seasons, posting a record of 369-311-87 (.538). He has led the Bulldogs to NCAA national championships in 2011, 2018 and 2019.

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College hockey to NHL head coaches

1970 -- Ned Harkness, Cornell to Detroit Red Wings

1982 -- Bob Johnson, Wisconsin to Calgary Flames

1987 -- Herb Brooks, St. Cloud State to Minnesota North Stars**

2015 -- Dave Hakstol, North Dakota to Philadelphia Flyers

2018 -- Jim Montgomery, Denver to Dallas Stars

2018 -- David Quinn, Boston University to New York Rangers

** Had previously served as an NHL head coach

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NHL Combine comes to an end

The NHL Combine, held in Buffalo's KeyBank Center and HarborCenter, has come to an end.

Four UND recruits -- forward Judd Caulfield, forward Shane Pinto, forward Harrison Blaisdell and goaltender Cameron Rowe -- were among the 104 invitees at the event, which includes both interviews with NHL teams as well as off-ice physical testing.

The NHL posted the top 25 finishers in each off-ice test .

Caulfield, Pinto, Blaisdell and Rowe head up a robust draft class for UND, which has nine contenders to be picked.

The other, late-round candidates are sophomore-to-be goalie Adam Scheel and four recruits -- defenseman Cooper Moore, defenseman Luke Bast, forward Massimo Rizzo and defenseman Ethan Frisch.

UND has only had more than seven players picked in a single draft one time in program history.

The NHL Draft is scheduled for June 21-22 in Vancouver.

Schlossman has covered college hockey for the Grand Forks Herald since 2005. He has been recognized by the Associated Press Sports Editors as the top beat writer for the Herald's circulation division four times and the North Dakota sportswriter of the year once. He resides in Grand Forks. Reach him at bschlossman@gfherald.com.
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