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Seattle Kraken name Dan Bylsma as new head coach

The Seattle Kraken on Tuesday announced Dan Bylsma as the team's second-ever head coach.

The Kraken put out a media notice on Monday afternoon of a "Special Announcement" to be made on Tuesday morning at Kraken Community Iceplex in Seattle with team owner Samantha Holloway and general manager Ron Francis.

Bylsma will become the second head coach in team history. He takes over from Dave Hakstol, who was relieved of his duties last month.

The former Stanley Cup winning head coach has been a part of the Kraken organization for the last three seasons. He was hired to be an assistant on the staff of the Charlotte Checkers in the AHL in 2021 when Seattle split their farm team with the Florida Panthers. Bylsma then became the first head coach of the Coachella Valley Firebirds for their launch in the 2022-23 campaign.

Bylsma has led the Firebirds to tremendous success in his two years running the team. Coachella Valley lost in Game 7 of the Calder Cup Finals to the Hershey Bears last season, and have advanced to the Western Conference Finals to face the Milwaukee Admirals for the second straight season.

The Kraken will be Bylsma’s third job at the NHL level. He won the Stanley Cup with the Pittsburgh Penguins in his first season as head coach after replacing a fired Michel Therrien midseason. Bylsma was promoted from AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and led the team to an 18-3-4 mark over the final 25 games of the regular season.

MONTREAL, QC - MARCH 12: Assistant coach for the Detroit Red Wings Dan Bylsma regroups his team in the third period against the Montreal Canadiens during the NHL game at the Bell Centre on March 12, 2019 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The Montreal Cana (Minas Panagiotakis / Getty Images)

The Penguins survived a seven-game series against Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals in the second round, and then swept the Carolina Hurricanes to reach the Final. Pittsburgh beat the Detroit Red Wings in seven games to give Sidney Crosby his first Stanley Cup.

The Penguins would make the playoffs in all six seasons under Bylsma as head coach, with Bylsma earning the Jack Adams Award as the league’s top coach in 2011. Pittsburgh was unable to make it back to the Cup Final in Bylsma’s final five seasons with the team, with two first-round exits, two second-round exits and one loss in the conference finals. Bylsma was then let go by Pittsburgh after losing to the New York Rangers in the second round of the 2013-14 playoffs.

His two-year run with the Buffalo Sabres was far less successful, as the team remained in the basement of the Atlantic Division with 7th and 8th place finishes. But Bylsma isn’t the only coach unable to succeed in Buffalo as the Sabres have gone 13 straight years without making the playoffs.

Bylsma then spent three seasons as an assistant coach with the Red Wings before joining the Kraken organization.

The Firebirds won the Pacific Division this season and had the second-most points (103) of any team in the AHL, trailing only the Hershey Bears’ 111 points.

Bylsma played parts of nine seasons in the NHL for the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks. He appeared in 220 games with nine goals and 21 assists.


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