Pittsburgh Penguins Former Head Coach Dan Bylsma Drawing A Lot of Attention


The Mike Babcock saga has come to an end, as he is officially locked up in Toronto for the next eight years with a salary that nearly triples all other NHL coaches. Now, the attention will turn to other available coaches such as former Pittsburgh Penguins Head Coach Dan Bylsma.

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Pittsburgh Penguins GM Jim Rutherford made it clear that Bylsma is permitted to pursue any job opening that he see’s fit. Rutherford has to provide that permission due to the fact that Dan Bylsma is still on the Pens payroll after being fired prior to this past season.

So far, we know that the Buffalo Sabres and San Jose Sharks have asked for permission to interview Bylsma. Buffalo will be a much better fit considering their youth and speed. Dan Bylsma’s uptempo system will fit that team perfectly as they build around Jack Eichel.

You can find quotes from me over at pucksandpitchforks.com regarding Bylsma’s strengths and weaknesses. We were discussing the potential for him to coach in New Jersey considering his ties to newly hired Devils’ GM Ray Shero.  But, Bylsma’s style of play is completely opposite of what we’re used to seeing in New Jersey. They would have to completely rethink and re-tool their roster if they wanted to employ that system.

That thought process brings us back to Buffalo.  The Sabres have recently finished their tear-down stage, and they’re primed to begin rebuilding around young talent. It’s the perfect situation for Bylsma.  While he struggled with some of the Pittsburgh Penguins youth over the years, I’d imagine he has learned a thing or two since being fired.  Also you can’t discount his success when coaching the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins, which shows an ability to coach and groom young prospects.

There is however one major issue with Bylsma deploying his system in Buffalo, and that’s their lack of offensive-minded defensemen.  They don’t have the puck-movers that would  be required for Dan Bylsma’s speedy, aggressive attack. Though, Buffalo isn’t expected to turn it all around next season.

Similar to when Ray Shero was hired by the New Jersey Devils, expectations are that the Pittsburgh Penguins will not seek compensation if Bylsma is scooped up this summer.  The Pens feel that this rule is quite arbitrary and unnecessary. If it were me, I’d likely take the third round pick that is owed to them, especially considering that the Pittsburgh Penguins only hold one pick in the first four rounds of this summer’s NHL Entry Draft.  But, you can’t fault them for being good sportsmen either.

One thing is for sure, despite his failure to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins to the Stanley Cup Finals since 2009, Dan Bylsma is a very effective NHL head coach.  Buffalo seems to be the best fit, but any team with a coaching vacancy would be lucky to have him.

Next: Trade Ramblings Part 3: The Ideal Target for the Pens

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