Buffalo Sabres Hire Former Pens Coach Dan Bylsma
Before today, there were two teams that were currently without a head coach, the Buffalo Sabres, who originally pursued Mike Babcock, and the New Jersey Devils.
But today, the Sabres, a perennial last place team, have decided to hire former Pittsburgh Penguins coach Dan Bylsma.
Buffalo Sabres Hire Dan Bylsma
As a result of hiring Bylsma, the Sabres have to give the Pittsburgh Penguins a conditional third round pick. Though Dan was fired after the Penguin’s 2013-14 season — the organization cleared house that year, even replacing GM Ray Shero with Jim Rutherford — he remained under contract until 2016.
The NHL established a rule that if a team hires a coach already under contract, then they have to give up a draft pick to the previous organization: a third rounder if it is during the offeseason and a second rounder during the hockey year. So like Toronto giving Detroit a pick for the hiring of Mike Babcock, the Sabres will have to give the Pens one third round pick over the next three years.
Dan Bylsma replaced Michel Therrien — current Montreal Canadiens coach — in the middle of the 2008-09 season. But both men are responsible for giving the Pens franchise a resurgence, as they both led the team to eight consecutive playoff appearances.
And in his first season as the Penguins coach, Dan went 18-3-4 and beat the Detroit Red Wings to win the franchise’s first Stanley Cup in 17 years. He would go on to rack up 252 wins with a winning percentage of .670, which are both franchise records.
However, after his Stanley Cup victory, the team struggled in the playoffs: twice exiting in the first round despite boasting 49-plus wins in each of those seasons. The best the team would do was an Eastern Conference Finals loss to the Boston Bruins in 2012-13.
This hiring provides a nice shot in the arm to the Buffalo Sabres franchise. They have only made the playoffs four times in the last 13 seasons. On top of this, they have had three consecutive last place finishes, where they never registered more than an abysmal 54 points.