DETROIT - Detroit Red Wings Executive Vice President and General Manager Ken Holland announced today that the team has hired Dan Bylsma as an assistant coach.
Bylsma, 47, most recently worked as an assistant coach alongside Red Wings head coach Jeff Blashill at the 2018 IIHF World Championship in Copenhagen and Herning, Denmark, helping the United States capture just its fifth medal in the tournament’s history, beating Canada 4-1 to win the bronze medal. Previous to that, Bylsma spent two seasons as the head coach of the Buffalo Sabres from 2015-17 and six seasons as head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins from 2008-14, taking over the Penguins during the 2008-09 campaign and helping the team to an 18-3-4 regular-season finish en route to defeating the Red Wings in the Stanley Cup Final. In 565 career games as an NHL head coach, Bylsma compiled a 320-190-55 record alongside a 43-45 postseason mark and was the recipient of the Jack Adams Award as the NHL’s coach of the year in 2011.
”I know that Dan will make a great impact on our team, and we’re excited to add him to the bench,” said Blashill. “His resume speaks for itself, including the Stanley Cup championship and Jack Adams Award. I also had the unique opportunity to work with Dan at this year’s World Championship, and that experience leaves no doubt that Dan will bring innovative ideas and tremendous attention to detail to our coaching staff.”
The Grand Haven, Mich., native started his coaching career in 2004-05 as an assistant coach for the American Hockey League’s Cincinnati Mighty Ducks, prior to moving on to work in the same role with the New York Islanders in 2005-06. Bylsma joined the Pittsburgh organization in 2006-07, serving two seasons as an assistant with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in the AHL (2006-08) before he was elevated to head coach to begin the 2008-09 season. He also has additional international experience with USA Hockey, serving as head coach for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, and winning his first bronze medal at the 2015 IIHF World Championship in Prague and Ostrava, Czech Republic.
As a player, Bylsma appeared in 429 NHL games with the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Mighty Ducks between 1995-04, picking up 62 points (19-43-62) and 184 penalty minutes. He logged 840 games as a professional, including his 95 games in the AHL with the Rochester Americans, Albany River Rats, Moncton Hawks, Lowell Lock Monsters and Cincinnati Mighty Ducks; 85 games in the ECHL for the Greensboro Monarchs; and 231 games in the International Hockey League with the Phoenix Roadrunners and Long Beach Ice Dogs, in a playing career that spanned 1992-04. Bylsma graduated from Bowling Green State University in 1992 with a degree in accounting and played four seasons on the hockey team, where he was a two-time CCHA All-Academic Team member.
It’s not every day you get to add a Jack Adams winner to your coaching staff, and Bylsma has experience taking over midseason for a fired coach, which should give a portion of the fanbase hope. Bylsma fell out of favor in Pittsburgh and was apparently booted by GM Jack Eichel in Buffalo, but won’t face the same kind of pressure as an assistant in Detroit (for now). He’ll be replacing John Torchetti, who was in charge of the power play and forwards during the two-year tenure which was not extended this offseason.