The Buffalo Sabres are team with loads of young talent who figure to add Jack Eichel to the pool at this year's draft. After firing Ted Nolan this offseason, the Sabres needed a coach to lead all the young players. Thursday afternoon they announced they have that coach as Dan Bylsma was introduced as the 17th head coach in franchise history.
The former Pittsburgh head man will take over a team that finished at the bottom of the NHL standings. Bylsma was fired a year ago after five and a half seasons with the Penguins. He went 252-117-32 during the regular season.
His Penguins teams made the playoffs in each of his seasons culminating in a Stanley Cup championship in 2009. Early exits combined with some of the best talent in the world led to his demise.
Pittsburgh will get a third round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft as compensation for Buffalo hiring him.
A second coaching vacancy was also filled yesterday when the San Jose Sharks announced they have hired Pete DeBoer as their new head coach. DeBoer replaces the winningest coach in Sharks history, Todd McLellan.
DeBoer was the bench boss for both the Florida Panthers and New Jersey Devils over the past seven years. He has a 205-183-70 record but his teams only made the playoffs one time, following the 2011-12 season. That playoff run ended with a Stanley Cup Finals loss to the Los Angeles Kings.
It is definitely a change of philosophy for the Sharks as McLellan was known to play a more wide open style compared to DeBoer's defense first ways.
With the two announcements on Thursday, only two teams, the Detroit Red Wings and New Jersey Devils, are without head coaches at this point.
Twin Game 7's
For just the second time since the 1967 expansion, both conference finals are going the distance. The New York Rangers forced a game seven on Tuesday night when they defeated Tampa Bay 7-3 in game six.
The Chicago Blackhawks avoided elimination with their own 5-2 victory in game six on Wednesday night.
The only other time both conference finals have gone seven games was in 2000. In that year New Jersey rallied from a three games to one deficit to defeat the Philadelphia Flyers in game seven in route to the Stanley Cup.
At the same time the defending champion Dallas Stars were pushed to the limit by the Colorado Avalanche before finally winning that series with a 3-2 victory in the deciding game.
New York will host the Lightning on tonight at 8:00 while Anaheim welcomes Chicago on Saturday at 8:00. With the way both of these series have gone so far, these should be two incredible games to watch.
The Stanley Cup Finals will begin Wednesday night at 8:00.
Bill Minchin is a contributing writer for Flyerdelphia. Follow Bill on Twitter @wtfd103074