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[Speculation] Kraken Expected To Promote Dan Bylsma To Head Coach

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Kraken Expected To Promote Dan Bylsma To Head Coach


May 27th, 2024 at 4:39pm CST • By Josh Erickson


The Kraken are expected to promote Dan Bylsma from their minor-league affiliate to fill their head coaching vacancy, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports.


Bylsma, who won the Stanley Cup with the Penguins in his first season behind an NHL bench in 2008-09, has been with the Kraken organization since its inception. He served as an assistant coach for the AHL’s Charlotte Checkers, whom they shared as their affiliate with the Panthers in their inaugural season, before being named the head coach of their current affiliate, the Coachella Valley Firebirds, ahead of the 2022-23 campaign.


After winning in Pittsburgh, he stayed on as their head coach until being fired after the 2013-14 season. He took one year off before landing his second NHL head coaching gig with the Sabres, a post he held for the 2015-16 and 2016-17 campaigns.


The 53-year-old has a career regular-season record of 320-190-55 (.615 winning percentage), including a pair of sub-.500 seasons with the Sabres in the early days of their attempted Jack Eichel-led rebuild. He also had a strong 43-35 (.551) playoff record in his six seasons with the Pens, advancing past the first round four times.


Friedman indicated on Monday’s episode of “32 Thoughts: The Podcast” that things were trending toward Bylsma landing the gig. Kraken assistant Jay Leach was also reportedly being considered for an internal promotion, advancing along with Bylsma to the second round of interviews. Former Wild coach Dean Evasonand ex-Kings bench boss Todd McLellan, who were both fired midseason, were also connected to the job as late as last week.


Bylsma takes over as the second head coach in franchise history. The Kraken relieved Dave Hakstol, who led them to one postseason appearance through their first three seasons, of his duties last month.


Unlike his days in Pittsburgh or Buffalo, Bylsma takes control over a roster without a star number-one center. Matthew Beniers may be on his way there after winning the Calder Trophy in 2023, but a difficult season production-wise (15 goals, 37 points in 77 games) this year has tempered expectations.


Perhaps no one will be more affected by Bylsma’s hiring than 2022 fourth-overall pick Shane Wright. After a rocky draft year and a tumultuous 2022-23 campaign, the 20-year-old has excelled in Coachella Valley under Bylsma in his first professional season. The Ontario-born pivot had 47 points in 59 regular-season games and has added five points in six playoff games thus far.



Edited by RWJC
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