Source: Kraken expected to name Dan Bylsma new head coach

Dan Bylsma is expected to be named the second head coach in Seattle Kraken history, a source close to the situation confirmed with 93.3 KJR-FM on Monday. The Kraken announced a news conference will be held on Tuesday, 10:30am PT at Kraken Community Iceplex, involving general manager Ron Francis and owner Samantha Holloway.

Bylsma, 53, is currently head coach of the Coachella Valley Firebirds, the American Hockey League affiliate of the Kraken, where he has led the team to back-to-back appearances in the league’s Western Conference Final. Bylsma, who guided Coachella Valley to the Calder Cup Final last season as an expansion team, is reportedly expected to finish the playoffs in the AHL before officially taking over the Kraken coaching vacancy.

Bylsma is expected to succeed Dave Hakstol, let go by the Kraken on April 29 after missing the playoffs for the second time in three seasons. The job would be Bylsma’s first as head coach in the NHL since 2016-17, when he spent two years behind the bench with the Buffalo Sabres, both missing the postseason. He guided the Pittsburgh Penguins to a Stanley Cup title in 2008-09 when he took over for the fired Michel Therrien, mid-season. Pittsburgh went 18-3 in the final 21 regular season games, reached the Stanley Cup Final for the second straight season, and beat the Detroit Red Wings in seven games. Bylsma earned the Jack Adams Award two years later as the league’s top coach. Detroit would serve as an assistant coaching stop for Bylsma, after leaving Buffalo.

Bylsma’s fit with the Kraken would go beyond a surface affiliate level. Several players under his guidance in Coachella Valley have made their NHL a debuts or earned full time jobs in Kraken jerseys, including Tye Kartye, Joey Daccord, Ryker Evans, Ryan Winterton, and Logan Morrison. Shane Wright, playing this season as a full time AHL forward, took the next step in his development phase by cracking the 20-goal barrier and on separate NHL call-ups, scored four goals in eight games.

Detroit Red Wings v Montreal Canadiens

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 Canadiens defeated the Detroit Red Wings 3-1. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)Photo: Minas Panagiotakis / Getty Images Sport / Getty Images

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