Bylsma appointed as Kraken coach, succeeding Hakstol.

Dan Bylsma was appointed head coach of the Seattle Kraken on Tuesday. The 53-year-old, who led the Pittsburgh Penguins to a Stanley Cup victory in 2009, succeeds Dave Hakstol and becomes the Kraken’s second coach since they joined the NHL as an expansion team for the 2021-22 season.

Bylsma returns to the NHL after last coaching in the league with the Buffalo Sabres in the 2016-17 season. He led Seattle’s AHL affiliate, the Coachella Valley Firebirds, to the Western Conference Finals of the Calder Cup Playoffs in both his seasons there, compiling a 320-190-55 record over 565 NHL games with the Penguins and Sabres.

Bylsma will continue to coach Coachella Valley through the Calder Cup Playoffs, with Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals set for Wednesday in Palm Springs.

“I am familiar with many of the players and staff here and believe we can build something special together,” Bylsma said. “I’d like to thank the Coachella Valley Firebirds for welcoming my wife and me, and I’d like to thank Samantha Holloway, the Kraken ownership group, and Ron Francis for this opportunity.”

The Kraken (34-35-3) dismissed Hakstol on April 29 after failing to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs, finishing sixth in the Pacific Division. This was a disappointment after reaching the Western Conference Second Round the previous season, losing in seven games to the Dallas Stars.

Bylsma was an assistant coach for Charlotte, the 2021-22 regular-season champions affiliated with the Kraken and Florida Panthers. He famously led the Penguins to a Stanley Cup win in 2009 after taking over mid-season and was named the NHL’s top coach in 2011, despite significant injuries to key players.

“Dan is a proven winner and developer of talent, both young and veteran,” Kraken GM Ron Francis said. “His leadership will be invaluable as we move forward. We are excited to have him guiding our team next season.”

Bylsma mentioned that Jessica Campbell, his assistant coach in the AHL, might join his staff in Seattle, potentially becoming the first female assistant coach in NHL history.

Bylsma also has experience coaching the United States at the 2014 Sochi Olympics and led the Sabres for two seasons. Before joining the Kraken’s player development group in 2021-22, he was an assistant with the Detroit Red Wings and had coaching stints in the AHL and with the New York Islanders. As a player, he appeared in 429 NHL games as a forward for the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks.

With this hiring, the San Jose Sharks remain the only NHL team without a coach. Recently, the Sabres hired Lindy Ruff, Travis Green joined the Ottawa Senators, the Toronto Maple Leafs appointed Craig Berube, Sheldon Keefe was hired by the New Jersey Devils, and Scott Arniel took over the Winnipeg Jets.