After whirlwind stretch, new Seattle Kraken coach Dan Bylsma settles in

Jul 4, 2024, 4:26 PM

Seattle Kraken coach Dan Bylsma...

Buffalo Sabres head coach Dan Bylsma watches during an NHL preseason game. (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt)

(AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt)

SEATTLE (AP) — At some point, Dan Bylsma will get a semblance of an offseason and a little downtime.

Right now, it seems like nonstop chaos for the new coach of the Seattle Kraken.

“It’s good to get here and kind of get focused on just the Kraken,” Bylsma said. “The players aren’t here right now, we’ve got the development players, but it’s energetic and exciting to get focused on what the possibilities are for the Kraken ahead.”

Bylsma’s first on-ice duties as the Kraken head coach started Tuesday when the team began development camp for the top prospects in their system and concluded a wild five-week stretch for Bylsma.

He was introduced as the second head coach in Kraken history on May 28 while in the midst of a playoff run as the head coach of Coachella Valley — Seattle’s AHL affiliate — in the Calder Cup playoffs. That playoff run didn’t come to an end until just over a week ago when the Firebirds lost to Hershey in Game 6 of the Calder Cup final.

Almost immediately after the playoff loss, Bylsma was on his way to Las Vegas for the NHL draft. Then it was to Seattle for the beginning of free agency on Monday — of which the Kraken were in the headlines after giving a pair of seven-year contracts to defenseman Brandon Montour and center Chandler Stephenson — and then the development camp.

So, yes, it has been a hectic stretch for the 53-year-old who is set to coach his third NHL franchise. Bylsma tried to keep his entire focus on Coachella Valley during its playoff run, but acknowledged the difficultly in that process while also getting pulled into phone calls about what was happening in Seattle.

“I wanted to be deeply invested in the guys in Coachella for the rest of the way. Having said that there were other things going on as well at the time,” Bylsma said. That was kind of difficult for me in my brain. I hope that wasn’t difficult for the players. I wanted to be and was fully invested in them, but at the same time, I was on the phone a little more often that I’ve ever been on the phone.”

Bylsma had been part of Seattle’s development camp in previous years and the Kraken now have a robust amount of prospects in the pipeline compared to where the franchise started. He was fully involved in teaching during the first day of camp, and even grabbed a shovel to clear off the chewed up ice around the goal before a drill.

But while the focus is on the youth during this week, Bylsma can’t wait for Oct. 8 when Seattle hosts St. Louis in the first game of the regular season played in North America.

“I wish we could get right to there right now,” Bylsma said.

More on the Seattle Kraken

History made as Kraken hire Jessica Campbell as assistant coach
Seattle Kraken make trade to follow up big day in free agency
Kraken sign Stephenson in second big move of free agency
Kraken make waves by adding a top name at defenseman
2024 NHL Draft Recap: Every pick the Seattle Kraken made

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