Daniels is in his sixth season at the helm with the Checkers/Albany River Rats organization and has had some great seasons with the team, never reaching less than 33 wins and over 40 three times.
This season, the Checkers have 36 wins and are fighting for the last playoff spot in the Western Conference and stand a good chance of making it.
But Daniels’ success in the AHL needs to be put into perspective.
He’s had some great players and teams through his years with the organization that he could rely on. That won’t be the same with the Hurricanes, who haven’t made the playoffs in what will be five seasons.
And the fact that Daniels’ team is just fighting for a playoff spot this year is not a good thing. The Checkers are stacked this season with veteran scorers Chris Terry, Zach Boychuk and Brett Sutter on the roster, plus young help in the form of Victor Rask.
Yet, the Checkers are still contending for the lowest spot in the playoffs, mainly because of a terrible November, where the team lost seven games in a row and only won two out of 11.
Then there is also the problem of Hurricanes’ prospects not making the jump from the AHL to the NHL during Daniels’ time as coach.
We’ve seen Boychuk, Terry, Zac Dalpe, Jeremy Welsh, Bobby Sanguinetti, Jerome Samson and others all struggle to make that leap. I’m not saying all of the blame should be put on Daniels, but this pattern obviously raises some concern.
Honestly though, Daniels may not be the worst option for a head coach. He has had success, plus experience, but five years is too long for no postseason. The Carolina Hurricanes need a coach that will change the atmosphere in Raleigh.