Buffalo Hires Dan Bylsma as New Head Coach

USATSI_7571377_154158418_lowresThe Buffalo Sabres have named former Pittsburgh Penguins bench boss Dan Bylsma as their new head coach. The team made the announcement on Thursday.

It appears at this point to be a five year contract, which backs on to the existing Penguins contract that still runs through the 2015-2016 season. Of course, Bylsma was canned by Pittsburgh following the 2013-2014 season. That sets up a situation where the Sabres have to pony up a third round pick for the 2016 NHL Entry Draft as compensation for inking Bylsma.

The Associated Press had been reporting that something was up between Bylsma and the Sabres since early Thursday morning, while it was common knowledge that the two parties had been talking over the last while. The Sabres were in the market for a coach, obviously, and they ran through their possibilities.

It’s interesting to note that the Penguins didn’t look for a draft pick when Ray Shero headed out to be the next general manager for the New Jersey Devils. They weren’t as eager to part without compensation for Bylsma and the draft pick happened with a little tap-dancing because the Sabres don’t have a third round pick in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft.

Talk shifted to the 2016 NHL Entry Draft and the third round, which is where the pick was originally the property of the New York Islanders. That pick has a condition, too, which according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie essentially means that the Penguins are getting Vancouver’s 2016 NHL Entry Draft third round pick because Buffalo hired a coach they fired. Isn’t business fun?

The main thing here is that the Sabres are getting one heck of a hockey coach.

Bylsma holds a 252-117-32 regular season record in his tenure with the Penguins and has gone an unfortunate 43-45 in the post-season. He won a Cup with Pittsburgh in 2009 and won the Jack Adams Award in 2011. He’s led the Penguins to four 100-point seasons.

This could be a good fit for Bylsma. He has some opportunities to mold a hockey team in Buffalo and he’ll certainly have his work cut out for him, but the Sabres are a team in transition and that can be great fun for a coach. He’s got the likes of Evander Kane and Tyler Ennis to work with, plus it looks like the team will land Jack Eichel at the draft unless something weird happens.

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