Vancouver, BC, Canada (4E Sports) – The Vancouver Canucks are eyeing former Pittsburgh Penguins coach Dan Bylsma to fill their head coaching vacancy.
Bylsma was fired by the Penguins on Friday, the same day the Penguins announced Jim Rutherford would replace Ray Shero as general manager.
“We’ve been in meetings all day, so we haven’t had a chance to really sit down and talk about it,” Canucks general manager Jim Benning said. “But Bylsma is an interesting name, for sure.”
Benning, who replaced Mike Gillis as Vancouver GM on May 21, said a new coach likely won’t be in place until after the Stanley Cup Final and the Calder Cup Finals.
Other candidates to replace John Tortorella, who was fired May 1 after one season, are Los Angeles Kings assistant coach John Stevens and Texas Stars coach Willie Desjardins.
The Kings have a 1-0 lead in the best-of-7 Final against the New York Rangers, and the Stars begin their series against the St. John’s IceCaps on Sunday to determine the American Hockey League champion. The earliest both could be completed would be Monday, June 16.
“We’re going to wait until the NHL is done and the AHL is done. We’re going to do our due diligence on this,” Benning said. “We want to make sure we pick the right guy that’s right for this group. So we’re going to take our time and do the work. It has gone good so far and I expect it to keep going good.”
Bylsma is the winningest coach in Penguins history. He had a 252-117-32 record in 401 regular-season games in parts of six seasons and won the Jack Adams Award as the NHL’s best coach in 2011. The Penguins never finished lower than second in their division during Bylsma’s tenure.
He replaced Michel Therrien midway through the 2008-09 season and coached Pittsburgh to a Stanley Cup. Bylsma is 43-35 in 78 Stanley Cup Playoff games but 27-27 since winning the championship. The Penguins were eliminated from the 2014 postseason by the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference Second Round, losing Game 7 after leading the series 3-1.
The Florida Panthers also are interested in Bylsma.