According to reports, including from Craig Custance of the Athletic, the Detroit Red Wings may have offered former Pittsburgh Penguins and Buffalo Sabres head coach Dan Bylsma an assistant coach position.
Bylsma, 47, would join Jeff Blashill‘s staff, but he has not yet accepted the offer if indeed it was made. Bylsma served as a studio analyst for the NHL network last season. Before that he was the Buffalo Sabres head coach for two seasons, 2015-16 and 2016-17. However, Bylsma is most known for coaching the Pittsburgh Penguins from 2009 to 2014, including their 2009 Stanley Cup championship.
Believe that Dan Bylsma is weighing an offer to join Jeff Blashill’s staff. When reached, Bylsma said if he was talking to Detroit, he wouldn’t say. And if he wasn’t, he still wouldn’t say. He warned not to read anything into his comment or no comment or unwillingness to comment.
— Craig Custance (@CraigCustance) June 12, 2018
The potential move should be watched carefully, as there was some question if Jeff Blashill would return for his fourth season as Red Wings head coach. Last season, the Red Wings finished under .500 (30-39-13) and well out of the playoff picture. Blashill succeded Mike Babcock as the Red Wings boss.
Bylsma, a former NHL player with several teams including the Anaheim Ducks, was last an NHL assistant coach for the New York Islanders beginning in 2005. For the 2008-09 season, he was named the head coach of the AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. The Pittsburgh Penguins elevated Bylsma to NHL head coach in Feb. 2009 after they fired Michael Therrien.
With Bylsma as head coach, the Penguins were 18-3-4 and won the franchise’s third Stanley Cup by beating, somewhat ironically, the Detroit Red Wings on June 12, 2009. Bylsma won the Jack Adams Award as coach of the year in 2010-11, but the Penguins did not win another Stanley Cup or advance to the Stanley Cup final under Bylsma.
The Penguins fired him following a Round 2 loss to the New York Rangers, in 2014.
Controversy enveloped the end of Bylsma’s Pittsburgh tenure. It was widely assumed Bylsma would be removed with General Manager Ray Shero after the conclusion of the season. However, Penguins President David Morehouse fired Shero but kept Bylsma for several weeks. Other open NHL head coach positions were filled in that time.
In June 2014, current Penguins Penguins GM Jim Rutherford was hired and promptly relieved Bylsma of coaching duties.
Bylsma was the fastest NHL coach to 250 wins (395 games). He also coached Team USA to a disappointing 4th place finish at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Bylsma remains the all-time winningest Penguins coach, with 252 wins.
Correction: Pittsburgh Hockey Now incorrectly attributed one of the reports to Hockey Night in Canada broadcaster P.J. Stock. That reference has been removed.