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

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

0 comment
Distribution: Desert sun

Distribution: 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 Pittsburgh’s 2009 Stanley Cup winner back in charge of an NHL team for first time since 2017.

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

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

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

Prior to his time in the 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 all five seasons under Bylsma after winning the title, but advanced to the conference finals only once in those five trips.

After being fired by Pittsburgh, Bylsma spent two seasons as head coach in Buffalo before being fired after the 2016-17 season. The Sabers 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 combination of Joey Daccord and Philipp Grubauer, the Kraken struggled mightily on the offensive end. Seattle ranked 29th in the league in goals scored, 29th in shooting percentage and 18th in power play.

Raising the score will be one of Bylsma’s main tasks in Seattle. The two teams he coached in the Coachella Valley had no trouble scoring goals on their way to significant success. The Firebirds reached the Calder Cup final in their first season before losing to Hershey in Game 7.

This season, Coachella Valley won the AHL’s Pacific Division and was one of two teams in the league to surpass 100 points. The Firebirds 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 appear to be key parts of the Kraken’s future.

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

You may also like