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Greg Cronin hired by Anaheim Ducks

The Colorado Eagles bench boss moves up to the NHL.

COLORADO EAGLES AHL HOCKEY Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

It was only a matter of time before Greg Cronin was going to earn a promotion back to the NHL after five successful seasons as the head coach of the Colorado Eagles. Brought in to lead the Colorado Avalanche AHL affiliate after many years of turmoil Cronin was a stabilizing force. After the team was promoted from the ECHL the Eagles under Cronin made the postseason in each year it was held, though the squad never made it very deep. He also compiled a 164-104-30 (.601) record over those five seasons.

Cronin has been coaching for nearly 40 years with head coaching stints at NCAA programs such as Colorado College, the University of Maine and Northeastern University. He saw plenty of work previously in the NHL as an assistant coach for both the Toronto Maple Leafs and New York Islanders but this will be his first job as now bench boss for the Anaheim Ducks. Interestingly enough he succeeds Dallas Eakins who was also promoted from the AHL but as a step up from their own affiliate the San Diego Gulls.

Cronin has been long praised for his work with minor league players, in particular getting them to key on defensive details which will better serve them in the NHL. This learning program this hasn’t led to many graduation to the Avalanche, however. Logan O’Connor was really the last player to move up through the system and he hasn’t played in the AHL since the pandemic.

Plus, it is interesting that Cronin himself has recognized the benefits he instilled in players regardless if they remain with the Avalanche organization or not. And that may have been a subtle sales pitch to the rest of the NHL for his services.

“I’ve been here long enough now to know that they can just connect the dots between the Eagles and [Sheldon Dries], the Eagles and [AJ Greer], the Eagles and [Ryan Graves], the Eagles and [Conor Timmins], and the Eagles and [Justin Barron]. They know when players are going here, they may not stay in the organization, but they’re getting trained, and they’re gonna go somewhere else and play,” Cronin said.

Where do the Eagles go from here?

Make no mistake the attention to detail and brutal honesty from Cronin will be missed. Now is as good of a time as any for a transition period in Loveland, though, with so many prospects departing. New Eagles General Manager Kevin McDonald might have his eye on someone to bring in. Brad Larsen who is a former Avalanche player and member of the Jared Bednar coaching tree was just recently let go by the Columbus Blue Jackets and is available. There’s also assistant coach Aaron Schneekloth who was the Eagles head coach in the ECHL when they won the Kelly Cup twice, who would be another appropriate fill-in. Either way another task got added to the Avalanche summer to-do list.