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Seattle Kraken expected to name Dan Bylsma as coach, AP source says

May 28th, 2024

Syndication: Desert Sun

SEATTLE (AP) The Seattle Kraken are expected to name Dan Bylsma as their coach, according to a person with knowledge of the choice, putting the 2009 Stanley Cup winner in Pittsburgh back in charge of an NHL team for the first time since 2017.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on Monday on the condition of anonymity because the team has not announced the hire. The Kraken scheduled a “special announcement” news conference for Tuesday, after Sportsnet first reported the decision.

Bylsma has spent the past two seasons as the head coach of the Coachella Valley Firebirds in the American Hockey League, the top affiliate of the Kraken, and has them back in the Calder Cup semifinals. He has worked extensively with several of Seattle’s top prospects who the franchise hopes will be making their way to Seattle in the coming seasons.

Bylsma replaces Dave Hakstol, who was let go after his third season in charge of the Kraken but after Seattle took a significant step back and struggled badly at the offensive end of the ice. Seattle made the playoffs in its second year and earned Hakstol a two-year contract extension, but he was let go before that extension ever kicked in.

Before his stint with Coachella Valley, Bylsma spent parts of eight seasons as a head coach at the NHL level with Pittsburgh and Buffalo. He took over midway through the 2008-09 season in Pittsburgh and helped guide the Penguins to the Stanley Cup. Pittsburgh made the playoffs in the five seasons under Bylsma after winning the title, but advanced to the conference final only once in those five trips.

After being fired by Pittsburgh, Bylsma spent two seasons as the head coach in Buffalo before being fired after the 2016-17 season. The Sabres finished seventh and eighth in the Atlantic Division in his two seasons.

Seattle finished last season 34-35-13 and tied for fifth place in the Pacific Division with 81 points. While they were solid defensively and received strong goaltending for most of the season with the combo of Joey Daccord and Philipp Grubauer, the Kraken struggled badly at the offensive end. Seattle was 29th in the league in goals scored, 29th in shooting percentage and 18th on the power play.

Increasing scoring will be one of Bylsma’s main tasks in Seattle. The two teams he led at Coachella Valley had no problem scoring goals on its way to significant success. The Firebirds made the Calder Cup finals in their first season before losing to Hershey in Game 7.

This season, Coachella Valley won the Pacific Division of the AHL and was one of two teams in the league to top 100 points. The Firebirds have advanced to the Western Conference finals, which are scheduled to begin Wednesday.

In both seasons the Firebirds finished in the top three in the AHL in goals scored during the regular season. He also worked with the likes of Daccord, Shane Wright, Ryker Evans and Tye Kartye, all of whom seem likely to be key parts of the future for the Kraken.

AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/nhl

This content was originally sourced and posted at Yahoo! Sports – News, Scores, Standings, Rumors, Fantasy Games »
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