HomeSportsSeattle Kraken expected to hire Dan Bylsma as coach, an AP source...

Seattle Kraken expected to hire Dan Bylsma as coach, an AP source said

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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 a team for the first time since 2017. NHL team.

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

Bylsma spent the past two seasons as head coach of the Coachella Valley Firebirds in the American Hockey League, the Kraken’s top club, and has them back in the Calder Cup semifinals. He has worked extensively with several of Seattle’s top players, who the franchise hopes will make their way 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 mightily on the offensive end of the ice. Seattle made the playoffs in year two and signed Hakstol to a two-year contract extension, but he was fired before that extension ever took effect.

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Before his stint at Coachella Valley, Bylsma spent parts of eight seasons as a head coach at the NHL level with Pittsburgh and Buffalo. He took over in Pittsburgh midway through the 2008-09 season and helped lead 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 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 34-35-13 last season and finished in fifth place in the Pacific Division with 81 points. While they were solid defensively and got strong goaltending most of the season with the combination of Joey Daccord and Philipp Grubauer, the Kraken struggled offensively. Seattle was 29th in the league in goals scored, 29th in shooting percentage and 18th in power play.

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Raising the score will be one of Bylsma’s most important tasks in Seattle. The two teams he managed in the Coachella Valley had no problem scoring goals on their way to significant success. The Firebirds made it to 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 with the top 100 points. The Firebirds have advanced to the Western Conference finals, which 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 play a key role in the Kraken’s future.


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