After being left to twist in the breeze for three weeks by a team that was always going to give him the pink slip, recently fired Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma is on the open market.
The young and highly-regarded Stanley Cup winning coach is now officially the biggest name among the available NHL head coaches, and with three head coaching vacancies - with the Florida Panthers, Carolina Hurricanes, and Vancouver Canucks - Bylsma will be out of a job for only as long as he'd like to be.
To wit, Florida Panthers general manager Dale Tallon has already begun to woo the 2011 Jack Adams winner according to Harvey Fialkov of the Sun Sentinel:
The Panthers wasted little time in reaching out to ex-Penguins coach Dan Bylsma as part of their ongoing coaching search after newly hired Pittsburgh General Manager Jim Rutherford fired the 2011 Coach of the Year Friday morning.
No definitive plans for an interview with Bylsma have been made, however, Panthers General Manager Dale Tallon called him shortly after he was let go to touch base, according to a team source.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the continent, Canucks general manager Jim Benning described Bylsma as "interesting" in an interview with the Vancouver Sun's Iain MacIntyre on Friday. "We’ve been in meetings all day, so we haven’t had a chance to really sit down and talk about it," Benning told the Sun of Bylsma's potential candidacy in Vancouver. "He’s an interesting name, for sure."
While the Panthers seem hot for Bylsma, the sense in Vancouver - despite Benning's comments - is that the former Penguins bench boss doesn't change the equation significantly for the Canucks' ongoing head coaching search.
"These guys have kind of had their hearts aflutter for [Texas Stars head coach Willie] Desjardins number 1, and [Los Angeles Kings assistant] John Stevens number 2," explained Vancouver Province beat writer Jason Botchford on the Scott Rintoul show late Friday night. "[Marc Crawford] has interviewed once, may interview again, he's one of the dark horses; but ... this is a two horse race, and I don't believe that Bylsma is going to upset the apple cart here."
Botchford went on to add that Bylsma "may want to stay out east" and that, if Bylsma is reluctant to move West, "that might be part of the reason, from the people I'm talking to, that he doesn't change the landscape."