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The Anaheim Ducks hired Greg Cronin to be their next head coach, the team announced Monday.

Cronin, who coached the Colorado Avalanche‘s AHL affiliate, will be an NHL head coach for the first time. The 60-year-old Cronin spent five years with the Colorado Eagles and guided the team to the playoffs four times. Previously, he coached the New York Islanders‘ AHL affiliate in Bridgeport.

He replaces Dallas Eakins, who was dismissed after four seasons. In Eakins’ final campaign the Ducks finished with a 23-47-12 record, worst in the NHL.

“While we did cast a wide net in searching for the next head coach, it became clear to me that Greg would be the ideal fit for the position,” Ducks general manager Pat Verbeek said in a statement. “Being a young team, I felt we needed a teacher of the finer points of the game, and someone who has worked extensively over time with talented young players, helping them develop into successful NHL players. Greg has done all that and more, and we are excited to name him head coach of the Anaheim Ducks.”

Cronin, who was on the first coaching staff in the United States national team development program, is known for developing players. He has been a collegiate assistant coach at several schools and was a head coach at both the University of Maine and Northeastern. He was an assistant with the Islanders and the Toronto Maple Leafs in addition to his time in the AHL.

“I’m excited and honored to be named head coach of the Anaheim Ducks,” Cronin said in a statement. “This team has a fantastic future ahead, and I’m very grateful to the Samueli family and Pat Verbeek for entrusting me with this amazing opportunity.”

Cronin played an instrumental role within the Avalanche’s organization. He was responsible in the development of players including Pavel Francouz, Logan O’Connor and Alex Newhook, and helped nearly 20 players make their NHL debuts with the Avs.

He takes over a team that despite missing the playoffs for a fifth straight season has used the draft to develop one of the NHL’s strongest farm systems. The Ducks began tapping into some of their promise during 2021-22, when they were in the hunt for a wild-card spot only to fall short a with 31-37-14 record, before finishing this season at the bottom of the standings.

Still, the franchise features young talents such as Jamie Drysdale and Mason McTavish along with a pair of NHL All-Star Game selections in Troy Terry and Trevor Zegras. The Ducks’ farm system this season became the first NHL organization to have its prospects win Defenseman of the Year honors in the OHL, the QMJHL and the WHL in the same year.

And with the Ducks having the No. 2 pick in the NHL draft, they could select University of Michigan center Adam Fantilli to become part of their future.

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Anaheim Ducks hire Greg Cronin as next head coach