Eakins, staff sign extensions

Brian Burke, President and General Manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs, announced Monday that Dallas Eakins has signed a three-year contract extension to remain head coach of the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League (AHL).

Eakins’ assistant coaches Gord Dineen and Derek King have also signed contract extensions to continue with the Marlies. Both are completing their third season with the Marlies in 2011-12.

“Dallas is a wonderful teacher for our players in the American Hockey League,” said Burke. “He has a great understanding of the game and what it takes to be a successful professional player, both on and off the ice. He’s a huge contributor to our overall hockey organization and we are pleased to have Dallas and the entire coaching staff under contract.”

Eakins, 45, became the third head coach in Marlies history on August 4, 2009. With their appearance in the current Calder Cup Finals, the Marlies, with Eakins at the helm, are the Maple Leafs first AHL affiliate to play in the league championship since 1991-92.

The Marlies captured the Sam Pollock Trophy as the winner of the AHL’s North Division in 2011-12. Under Eakins guidance, the team has ranked first in the AHL in penalty-killing in 2010-11 and 2011-12. Toronto surrendered a league-low 175 goals in 2011-12 and finished with a record of 44-25-5-3 and 96 points which is the 2nd best total in team history.

As the second playoff seed in the AHL’s Western Conference, the Marlies this spring eliminated Rochester, Abbotsford and first-place Oklahoma City on their path to the 2012 Calder Cup Finals.

Eakins has spent the last seven seasons in the Toronto Maple Leafs organization in various roles. He was the club’s director of player development in 2008-09, served as an assistant coach with the Maple Leafs from 2006 to 2008, and was an assistant coach with the Marlies during the 2005-06 AHL season.

The Dade City, Fla., native was originally drafted by the Washington Capitals in 1985, and played in 120 games for Winnipeg, Florida, St. Louis, Phoenix, the New York Rangers, Toronto, the New York Islanders and Calgary. He also suited up in 609 AHL games, registering 134 points (27 goals, 107 assists) and 1,051 penalty minutes while winning a Calder Cup championship with Chicago in 2002.