NHL Notebook: Seattle Kraken name Dan Bylsma second head coach in team history

Photo credit:© Andy Abeyta/The Desert Sun / USA TODAY NETWORK
Cam Lewis
21 days ago

Seattle Kraken name Dan Bylsma second head coach in team history

The Seattle Kraken have found their new bench boss. It announced on Tuesday that Dan Bylsma has been hired as the second head coach in the organization’s short history.
Bylsma will replace Dave Hakstol, Seattle’s head coach during their first three seasons as an NHL franchise. Hakstol led the Kraken to a surprising 46-28-8 record and first-round playoff series victory in 2022-23 but was fired after the team regressed to a 34-35-13 finish in 2023-24.
Over the past two seasons, Bylsma led the Coachella Valley Firebirds, Seattle’s American Hockey League affiliate, to an impressive 94-32-18 record. The team reached the Calder Cup Final last year and are currently playing in the Western Conference Final of the AHL playoffs.
“I’m a pretty present and focused individual for the now, in the moment,” Bylsma said. “For [Coachella Valley], for the players, it’s all about right now and this moment.
“I have a familiarity with a lot of the players and staff here and think we have a chance to build something special together,” he said. “I’d like to thank everyone with the Coachella Valley Firebirds for welcoming my wife and me with open arms, and I’d like to thank [owner] Samantha Holloway and the entire Kraken ownership group, as well as [general manager] Ron Francis, for trusting me with this opportunity.”
Bylsma won the Stanley Cup with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2008-09 and was named the Jack Adams Award winner for the NHL’s best coach in 2010-11. He spent parts of six seasons with the Penguins and two with the Buffalo Sabres in 2015-16 and 2016-17 and owns a 320-190-55 record over his career in the NHL as a head coach.

Columbus Blue Jackets hire Don Waddell as General Manager and President of Hockey Operations

Don Waddell already has a new gig. Less than one week after he resigned from his post with the Carolina Hurricanes, the Columbus Blue Jackets announced that Waddell would be joining the organization as president of hockey operations and general manager.
“Don Waddell is one of the most experienced and respected executives in our sport with over four decades of experience as a player, scout, head coach, general manager and team president,” said Blue Jackets President and Alternate Governor Mike Priest in a press release. “Most recently, he has built the Carolina Hurricanes into one of the winningest clubs in the National Hockey League. Don has every attribute we were looking for when this process began, and we are thrilled to have him lead our hockey operations efforts.”
The Blue Jackets fired general manager Jarmo Kekäläinen following a season that saw them go 27-43-12 and miss the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season. John Davidson, who had been the team’s president of hockey operations for 10 of the last 12 years, will now move into an advisory role with the club.

San Jose Sharks sign 2023 first-round pick Will Smith to entry-level contract

Will Smith is headed to the big leagues. The San Jose Sharks inked their top prospect to a three-year, entry-level contract on Tuesday, indicating he’ll make the jump to professional hockey for the 2024-25 season.
“To be honest personally, I think it was time to take that next step,” Smith said. “Obviously it’s the best league in the world. You’re getting the best players every single night, night in and night out. I think that’s something that factored into wanting to make the next step.”
Selected with the fourth-overall pick in the 2023 NHL draft, Smith will be a one-and-done in the NCAA. He suited up in 41 games for Boston College, led the country in points with 71, and finished fourth in goals with 25, behind only Cutter Gauthier, Macklin Celebrini, and Ryan Leonard.
The Sharks won this year’s draft lottery and are expected to select Celebrini with the top pick, so he and Smith will be the one-two punch down the middle that San Jose can build around. The team finished dead-last in the league with a 19-54-9 record in 2023-24, their fifth consecutive season outside the playoffs and their worst finish since 1995-96.

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