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NHL Rumours: Former NHL Coach a Candidate for Seattle Kraken Job

NHL Rumours

It’s time for another edition of NHL rumours as we head towards the end of May. We’re a few weeks away from deciding the Stanley Cup, but the rumours are flying. Teams that missed out on the post-season have decisions to make. A number of teams have made switches behind the bench. Some of those spots have been filled, but the Seattle Kraken are still searching for a head coach. Today’s NHL rumours focus on the Kraken and one particular name that was a former NHL bench boss.

All NHL rumours come from the original source and are subject to change.

NHL Rumours

Seattle Kraken Coaching Candidate Emerging as Dark Horse

Rumour: Mike Benton of KJR and Fox 13 in Seattle said that former Minnesota Wild Head Coach Dean Evason has emerged as a dark horse candidate for the vacant head coaching post.

Analysis: Evason was fired in the middle of the season and replaced by John Hynes. He was 147-77-27 lifetime with the club. The former Wild coach has been bandied about as a candidate for a few different jobs like the Ottawa Senators, the Toronto Maple Leafs, and other spots.

Evason said he had a feeling that his firing was coming and Minnesota General Manager Bill Guerin made the change. The 59-year-old is still looking for a new job, but could be headed to the Pacific Northwest.

Seattle’s Search

Kraken General Manager Ron Francis fired inaugural Head Coach Dave Hakstol early this offseason. At this point, Seattle is still searching for a new coach. Francis likely would have been in position to make a play for Rod Brind’Amour. However, the Carolina Hurricanes extended the man Francis hired for the post.

This meant that Francis had to pivot and focus on newer candidates. Dan Bylsma has done wonders with the AHL affiliate for the Kraken in Coachella Valley. Conversely, Bylsma has had some previous stumbles along the way in the NHL with the Buffalo Sabres. He did win a Stanley Cup with the Pittsburgh Penguins in his first season in charge in 2008-09. Bylsma currently has the Firebirds in the AHL Western Conference Final. The team made the Calder Cup Final in 2022-23, but lost to the Hershey Bears in seven games. There’s no doubt his performance behind the bench should get some looks from other teams.

What Evason Could Bring

Seattle did make the post-season in year two in 2022-23. In contrast, the Kraken took a step backwards after a landmark season. The team struggled to have an identity this season. However, Evason could try and solve that problem with the help of Francis.

The Kraken seem stuck between a heavier team that’s physical and one that has finesse. Evason’s teams were usually consistent in his stops in the AHL and the NHL. Teams also usually take on the personality of their head coach and Evason has a strong one. Seattle needs to find itself and a new head coach can help that happen.

What It Means

Some Kraken fans were looking at Brind’Amour as the ideal coach. However, Francis probably knew that the Hurricanes would extend their coach. It was pretty much an outside shot that there wouldn’t be a West Coast reunion. Names like Bylsma and Evason are probably two of the team’s main candidates. Furthermore, this coaching search has been pretty close to the vest.

There are worries about Bylsma’s last stint in Buffalo and Evason’s lack of post-season success. However, the team wants to take it one step at a time. Getting back to the playoffs is the likely priority and the Kraken will worry about the playoff success when they cross that bridge.

Main photo by: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports


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