Morosi: Why Dan Bylsma is ‘best possible’ coach for Kraken

Jun 1, 2024, 11:02 AM

New Seattle Kraken coach Dan Bylsma...

Dan Bylsma leads a Detroit Red Wings huddle during a 2019 game. (Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

(Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

The Seattle Kraken didn’t surprise many when they officially ended the search for their second-ever head coach.

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Dan Bylsma – one of two coaching candidates heavily linked to the Kraken after the firing of Dave Hakstol – was named the team’s next bench boss Tuesday. Bylsma was perhaps the most obvious choice for the Kraken after leading the franchise’s AHL affiliate, the Coachella Valley Firebirds, with much success the past two seasons.

NHL Network broadcaster Jon Morosi shared his thoughts on the Bylsma hire Wednesday when he joined Seattle Sports’ Wyman and Bob.

“I think the Kraken, especially if they weren’t going to be able to hire (Rod) Brind’Amour away from Carolina, I really believe they got the best possible guy,” Morosi said, “and I think it’s going to be a very successful year one for Bylsma there in Seattle.”

Brind’Amour, a former teammate of Kraken general manager Ron Francis, was the other name that frequently came up for the Kraken coaching vacancy, but the Hurricanes and Brind’Amour agreed on a five-year contract extension earlier this month.

So why is Bylsma the right guy for the job? Morosi pointed to a few different factors.

The pedigree

Bylsma is a Stanley Cup-winning coach and was the leader of the 2014 United States Olympics team in Sochi, Russia.

Bylsma guided the Pittsburgh Penguins to a Stanley Cup championship in 2009 despite taking over as head coach well into the season. Bylsma was coaching Pittsburgh’s AHL affiliate when the Penguins decided to fire then-head coach Michel Therrien and promote Bylsma to an interim role. Pittsburgh closed the regular season 18-3-4 on their way to winning the title, and they reached the playoffs in all six seasons under Bylsma. He has a career 320-190-55 record as an NHL head coach. The U.S. placed fourth in at the 2014 Olympic games.

“He already entered with a very good base of knowledge about the game, and clearly he won a Stanley Cup and was at the Olympics with the national team,” Morosi said. “So he’s coached high-end players and had success before.”

Bylsma’s last head coaching gig in the NHL was brief as he led the Buffalo Sabers to a combined 68-73-23 record over two seasons. After leaving Buffalo in 2017, Bylsma has served as an assistant for the Detroit Red Wings and the AHL’s Charlotte Checkers before joining Coachella Valley.

“I think taking a step back a little bit and in some different roles, obviously things did not go well from in Buffalo, but he learned from things there,” Morosi said. “… So I think that was a actually, in retrospect, a positive experience. It’s gonna make him better now.”

Related: Why Dan Bylsma was chosen as Seattle Kraken coach

The style

Morosi also believes that Seattle’s new head coach is the right person to implement an up-tempo attack and create an identity the team seemed to lack this past season.

With Bylsma at the helm, Coachella Valley scored an AHL-best 252 goals this season and was second with 257 the previous season. The Penguins, who featured star centerman Sidney Crosby, also ranked in the top five of NHL scoring in four of Bylsma’s five full seasons, including leading the league twice.

“I think for a team that wants to play the more entertaining, up-tempo style, he’s a really good coach to have because he can do that,” Morosi said.

Find the full conversation at this link or in the audio player near the top of this story. Tune in to Wyman and Bob weekdays from 2-6 p.m. or find the podcast on the Seattle Sports app.

More on the Seattle Kraken

• Jessica Campbell could be Seattle Kraken candidate as assistant, new coach says
• Dan Bylsma rediscovers the joy in coaching, lands Kraken job
Potential Sonics return may have played role in Seattle Kraken coach change
• Coaching carousel spins fast in NHL: Job security just doesn’t exist
• Where the Seattle Kraken are picking in the NHL Draft

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Morosi: Why Dan Bylsma is ‘best possible’ coach for Kraken