What’s the latest on the Seattle Kraken coach search?

May 18, 2024, 7:13 PM | Updated: May 19, 2024, 7:11 pm

Seattle Kraken coach search Dan Bylsma...

Detroit Red Wings assistant coach Dan Bylsma on Oct. 10, 2019. (Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

(Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

We’re approaching the three-week mark on the coaching search by the Seattle Kraken, who moved on from Dave Hakstol late last month.

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At first, the names that came up as potential candidates for the Kraken included Dan Bylsma, who coaches Seattle’s AHL affiliate, and Carolina Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour. In a new report by an NHL insider, one of those names remains in the mix, but there are also a couple others that haven’t come up as much.

Here’s what Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman said this week on the 32 Thoughts podcasts:

“Seattle, I think there’s three names: Dan Bylsma, Todd McClellan and Jay Leach. And the interesting thing about Seattle is, in New Jersey I think at different times, different people have argued in favor of who should be the next coach of the Devils. I think that’s also the case in Seattle. I don’t know if a split is the right word, but at different times I think people have argued for different people.”

Let’s get into these names.

The 56-year-old McClellan was Los Angeles Kings coach for the last five seasons until he was let go 48 games into the 2023-24 campaign. He also previously was with the Edmonton Oilers (2015-19) and San Jose Sharks (2008-15), so he’s been a head coach in the league each of the past 16 seasons. He’s made nine total playoff appearances, getting as far as the conference finals twice early in his tenure with the Sharks.

Leach, meanwhile, is on the younger side at 44 years old and has been with the Kraken organization since he joined Hakstol’s staff ahead of the team’s inaugural campaign in 2021-22. A native of Syracuse, New York, Leach has limited head coaching experience.

As for Bylsma, his Coachella Valley Firebirds entered Friday with a 1-0 lead in the Pacific Division Finals of the Calder Cup Playoffs against the Ontario Reign. The 53 year old was head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins from 2008-14 and Buffalo Sabres from 2015-17, and he led the Penguins to a Stanley Cup title win in 2008-09. He was just the second coach to win the Stanley Cup in the same season in which he was a midseason replacement, and went on to win the Jack Adams Award as the league’s most outstanding coach in 2010-11.

What direction should the Seattle Kraken go?

After listening to a clip of Friedman’s report on the Kraken coaching search, Seattle Sports’ Michael Bumpus shared his take during The Timeline segment on Thursday’s edition of Bump and Stacy.

“I would be careful hiring from within,” Bumpus said. “But there’s pluses and minuses, right? You got Jay Leach, who’s been Hakstol’s assistant since 2021. He knows what works and what didn’t work. But you also have Bylsma, who’s been the head coach at Coachella Valley. You have some young talent that you want to bring up and nurture, make sure they’re good to go. He knows them better than anybody.

“Those are the two that I would lean, and I would lean away from them for the same reason… I would lean (more) towards Bylsma just because of the young talent that (he has familiarity with).”

Listen to the full conversation in the third segment of the podcast at this link or in the player above. Catch Seattle Sports’ Bump and Stacy live from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays, and click here to find podcasts of every show.

More on the Kraken coach search

Coaching carousel spins fast in NHL: Job security just doesn’t exist
Here’s where the Kraken are picking in the NHL Draft
Morosi on Kraken: What went wrong, who could be next coach

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What’s the latest on the Seattle Kraken coach search?