By: Casey Shea


BUFFALO (KDKA/AP) – Former Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma has a new job in the National Hockey League.

According to the Sabres’ official Twitter account, Bylsma will take over the head coaching position with the Buffalo Sabres.

Bylsma was in Buffalo on Wednesday to meet with team officials. He met with them once again on Thursday.

The deal is reportedly for five years.

Bylsma was relieved of his coaching duties with the Penguins following the 2013-14 season.

Former general manager Ray Shero was also let go at that time. Shero has since been named the general manager of the New Jersey Devils.

He took over the head coaching position in Pittsburgh in February of 2009 and led the team to their third Stanley Cup title.

While he posted a career record of 252-117-32 in Pittsburgh, the downfall came from five straight disappointing playoff exits. The team has not been back to the Stanley Cup Finals since 2009 and were swept out of the Eastern Conference Finals by the Bruins in 2013.

One of the biggest criticisms of Bylsma was his inability to adjust during the course of a seven-game playoff series.

Given that this was his first head coaching job in the NHL, one could argue that inexperience may have played a role as well.

Regardless, Bylsma’s new challenge will be to return the Sabres to relevancy. Given that they finished dead last in the NHL the past two seasons, it will be no easy task.

“The expectation for the winning culture and how we play is not going to change,” Bylsma said during his inaugural news conference shortly after being hired Thursday. “And that’s going to start, starting today. And it’s going to continue as we go, as we develop this group.”

Adding insult to injury, the Sabres also lost the Connor McDavid Sweepstakes – AKA the NHL Draft Lottery. Now, they are expected to select Boston University standout Jack Eichel with the No. 2 pick.

Being that Bylsma still had one year remaining on his contract in Pittsburgh, the Penguins will be entitled to a draft pick from Buffalo as compensation.

The Penguins refused to pursue compensation from the Devils when they hired Shero.

However, they will receive a third-round pick as compensation for Bylsma signing in Buffalo.

This appeared to be the final hurdle to clear in the process.

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