Results matter, except when they don’t
Objective truths are the best way to start this: it was an awful year for the Norfolk Admirals. Anaheim and the AHL forced the team into a sale and move to San Diego and the on-ice product produced far more losses than wins. Helming this team was Jarrod Skalde, a coach with a decent track record in the ECHL. Skalde was originally named to the Admirals staff by the Anaheim Ducks in 2013-14, as an assistant to Trent Yawney.
After John Gibson and a talented group of Ducks prospects got to the playoffs and knocked off number one Manchester, Yawney was rewarded with an assistant’s job in Anaheim. Jarrod Skalde inherited a somewhat bare cupboard, but he made it work. Norfolk finished the year as the 14th best possession team in the AHL, but the unluckiest. An incredible number of “ifs” factor into Skalde’s year in Norfolk.
What if the Ducks leave John Gibson in the AHL for the year and find a suitable backup for Frederik Andersen in the NHL? What if Max Friberg, Stefan Noesen, and Chris Wagner are healthy are year? What happens if Josh Manson gets to play with Norfolk all year? What happens if Jesse Blacker is traded for Colby Robak earlier? What happens if Emerson Etem stays in the AHL a longer portion of the year? What happens if the Admirals shoot closer to league average, and not an astoundingly low 6.9%?
Skalde ultimately served as ward for a team the Anaheim Ducks barely paid lip service to, a place where players could earn ice time. His time is up, and he is no longer with the Ducks. Anaheim’s machinations were always headed out west, in an attempt to bring their players closer to Honda Center. The team apparently cared very little about the actual performance of the team on ice, and have a decent scapegoat in the results.
Reading over the press release reveals so much in one quote and three paragraphs. The lede mentions “no replacement has been named”, because there is no AHL team to coach right now. Norfolk will most likely inherit JF Houle from the Bakersfield a Condors, and pay his salary. Naming a coach now would be ridiculous. Anaheim wants to make the Gulls brand big, starting with a new coach, new logo, new everything.
The only coach under contract for the Anaheim AHL franchise is Eric Veilleux. The former QMJHL head coach could be named as part of this branding. However, the Ducks may want to make a splash in San Diego with a different name. I’m not sure who that is at the time, but they’re definitely trying to make it a fresh start.
Ducks assistant general manager Bob Ferguson specifically mentions San Diego in his quote for the presser. Now, there may be significance.
Let’s take the idea that Skalde, a hockey lifer, is tired of moving his family around. Perhaps he and his family like it in here in Hampton Roads, and have decided that they do not want to pull up roots again and move several thousands of miles across the country. I realize I contradict myself here, but I do not know what happened.
Facts are this: Anaheim hired Jarod Skalde and paid him, and the club decided not to bring him to San Diego. Some of this may have been all on the Ducks, and an incredible amount of bad luck. Skalde and his family may have felt that staying in Hampton Roads was the right idea. One way or another, I don’t know where Jarod Skalde ends up.