The Buffalo Sabres have a new head coach, announcing the hiring former Pittsburgh Penguins coach Dan Bylsma on Thursday. Bylsma becomes the 17th head coach in franchise history.
Buffalo fired their previous head coach Ted Nolan following the team’s league-worst 23-51-8 record.
Bylsma’s best season as a coach was not even a full one. He took over the 10th place Pittsburgh Penguins late in the 2008-09 season. In the season’s final 25 games under his watch, Pittsburgh finished 18-3-4 to place fourth in the Eastern Conference. Once the postseason began, the Penguins went 16-8, winning the Stanley Cup for the first time in 16 years.
Pittsburgh won its division twice and made the playoffs all six seasons under Bylsma. He was fired after the 2013-14 season, following a second-round playoff series loss to the New York Rangers. The Penguins were up 3-1 in the series before losing in seven games.
The Sabres hold the second overall pick in the upcoming draft and will presumably select Boston University center Jack Eichel. Because of their stocked coffer of prospects and that No. 2 pick, many coveted the Buffalo job.
Because Bylsma was still technically under contract with the Penguins through June 2016 despite his firing, the Sabres will compensate Pittsburgh with a third-round pick.