Dan Bylsma named Kraken's new coach

The numbers behind the Kraken firing Dave Hakstol (0:56)

Take a look at some of the numbers that led to the Kraken firing coach Dave Hakstol. (0:56)

The Seattle Kraken have named Dan Bylsma the second coach in franchise history, the team announced Tuesday.

Bylsma has spent the past two seasons as the head coach of the Kraken's AHL affiliate, the Coachella Valley Firebirds. Promoting Bylsma to head coach comes a little more than a month after the franchise fired Dave Hakstol after three seasons.

Hakstol led the Kraken to within a game of the Western Conference finals and was a Jack Adams Award finalist in 2022-23 only to be dismissed after the team finished this season 17 points out of the final wild-card spot. The Kraken also fired assistant coach Paul McFarland, who had overseen the team's forwards and power-play unit.

Now Bylsma will be charged with trying to get the NHL's 32nd team back into the playoffs for what will be the second time in its four-year history.

"Dan is a winner with a proven track record of developing both young and veteran talent, and his leadership will help our team as we move forward," general manager Ron Francis said in a statement. "He has had success at every level, winning the Stanley Cup in 2009, earning a Jack Adams Award as the NHL's top coach in 2011, and he led the Firebirds to Game 7 of the Calder Cup Finals last year in the team's first season. He knows our franchise and has worked with several of our NHL players. We are excited to have him behind the bench and guiding our team next season."

The Kraken were one of seven NHL teams in need of a new coach. Earlier in the day, the Winnipeg Jets announced they hired Scott Arniel. The Buffalo Sabres (Lindy Ruff), the Ottawa Senators (Travis Green), the Toronto Maple Leafs (Craig Berube) and the New Jersey Devils (Sheldon Keefe) have already made coaching hires, which leaves the San Jose Sharks as the remaining opening.

"I have a familiarity with a lot of the players and staff here and think we have a chance to build something special together," Bylsma said in a statement. "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 Samantha Holloway and the entire Kraken ownership group, as well as Ron Francis, for trusting me with this opportunity."

Bylsma first broke into the NHL as a head coach in 2009 when he was hired by the Pittsburgh Penguins after previously serving as the head coach of their AHL franchise. Bylsma won the Stanley Cup in his first season and led the team to six consecutive playoff appearances. The Penguins made it to the conference finals once after winning the Cup in Bylsma's first season and reached the second round before parting ways after the 2013-14 campaign.

He was out of the NHL for one full season before the Sabres hired him to be their head coach in 2015-16. At the time, the Sabres had missed the playoffs for four straight seasons and brought Bylsma on board with the belief he could get them back to the postseason. He was fired after two seasons and the club's postseason-less streak has since been extended to 13 seasons.

Bylsma was a Detroit Red Wings assistant for three seasons before he was hired by the Kraken to serve as an AHL assistant coach in 2021-22, the year the club shared an AHL affiliate with the Florida Panthers.

He was then made head coach of the Firebirds prior to the start of the 2022-23 season, with the team finding success while he has been on the bench. The Firebirds reached the Calder Cup final in their first season but lost to the Hershey Bears. They advanced to the Western Conference finals this season and open the seven-game series Wednesday against the Milwaukee Admirals.