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Former Penguins Coach Dan Bylsma Returning to the NHL

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Former Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma will return to the NHL, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.

The Seattle Kraken parted ways with coach Dave Hakstol following a disappointing season in which Seattle missed the playoffs, a significant step backward from their strong playoff run last season. So, from a former Philadelphia Flyers coach to a former Penguins coach.

Bylsma, 53, last coached the Buffalo Sabres from 2015 to 2017, a period of just two seasons in which the team finished seventh and last in the Atlantic Division. He joined the Penguins organization as the coach of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in 2008-09 but was elevated to the NHL level on Feb. 15, 2009, when former general manager Ray Shero fired Michel Therrien.

Bylsma guided the Penguins to a Stanley Cup championship in 2009, but the team didn’t win a game beyond Round Two for the remainder of his tenure, which ended following the 2013-14 season. Controversy erupted following that season when Penguins president David Morehouse called a press conference, at which he was expected to announce the terminations of both Bylsma and Shero, but he only announced Shero’s departure.

The Washington Capitals coaching position was open at the time, and the Penguins didn’t announce Bylsma’s termination until they hired former GM Jim Rutherford several weeks later. Rutherford admitted that the organization had told him to do so.

Bylsma won the Jack Adams Award for coach of the year in 2011 and was the winningest coach in Penguins’ history with 252 wins until current coach Mike Sullivan broke the mark. Following his two-year stint with Buffalo, he joined the Detroit Red Wings as an assistant for three seasons, from 2018-21.

He was an assistant coach with Seattle’s original AHL affiliate, the Charlotte Checkers, in 2021-22 before taking over as head coach of Seattle’s new AHL affiliate, the Coachella Valley Firebirds. Bylsma guided that team to the Calder Cup Final in 2023, but they lost Game 7 in overtime to the Hersey Bears.

Bylsma also coached Team USA at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, but the U.S. finished a disappointing fourth, losing 1-0 to Canada in the semifinals and losing the Bronze Medal Game to Finland.

Seattle GM Ron Francis has not yet announced the move as of publishing Monday evening.