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April 15, 2012 | 10:12am ET
Eakins a candidate for Flames coaching job?

Citing a Calgary source, reports coach of the AHL's Toronto Marlies, Dallas Eakins, is expected to receive strong consideration for the Flames head coaching position.

With the amicable firing of Brent Sutter, the Flames are reportedly looking at Eakins, whose time with the Maple Leafs could be coming to an end as the club hired Randy Carlyle to replace Ron Wilson as head coach back in early March.

Eakins, who is in the final year of his contract, has often talked about his ultimate goal to coach in the NHL, though he has been focusing on helping the Marlies win the Calder Cup for the time being.

"That's what the American Hockey league is for; we have players trying to get to the NHL as fast as possible and a lot of these guys are very impatient, which I understand," Eakins said. "We also have referees and linesmen trying to get to the NHL, as well as coaches."

The 45-year-old is likely to investigate other coaching opportunities at the end of this season, but won't jump at the first job offered if he doesn't trust it will lead to success. There could also be more NHL openings over the next few months, once the post-season wraps up.

Other candidates being mentioned for the Flames' vacant post include Troy Ward, head coach with Calgary's farm team, former Boston Bruins coach Mike Sullivan, ex-Edmonton Oilers coach Craig MacTavish, Bob Boughner and Bob Hartley.

Many believed Eakins was being groomed by the Leafs organization to ultimately take over as coach of the big club, as he has worked for the franchise for six years, serving as an assistant coach and as Director of Player Development.

However, on Mar. 2, GM Brian Burke fired Wilson and brought in Carlyle, giving the new coach a three-year contract beyond the end of this season.

In 75 games with the Marlies this season, Eakins holds a coaching record of 44-24-7 for 95 points, placing the team in playoff contention for the first time since 2009.

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