While there has been some speculation that Sabres head coach Dan Bylsma could be on the hot seat (especially after GM Tim Murray didn’t give much of a vote of confidence yesterday), TSN’s Bob McKenzie doesn’t foresee a change being made behind the bench. In an appearance on NBCSN, McKenzie had the following to say regarding Bylsma’s status (transcription courtesy of Fan Rag’s Chris Nichols):
“I would also think, absent some sort of cataclysmic disaster in the final two weeks of the season, that Dan Bylsma will also be back as head coach of this team next year; although that review process, as Murray said, still has to take place at the end of this season.
“I don’t think the Pegula family is keen on paying both Rex Ryan and Dan Bylsma not to coach the Bills and the Sabres, and they obviously made that decision with Rex Ryan and the Bills. At this point in time, I would suggest that Bylsma will be back.”
Bylsma is in his second season behind the Buffalo bench and while the team was clearly in a rebuilding mode when he took over, many expected the Sabres to take a significant step forward this season. That hasn’t been the case though as they have just 72 points through 74 games and may not even match the 81 points they put up in 2015-16.
Elsewhere around the league:
- Canucks GM Jim Benning plans to sit down with the Sedin twins at the end of the season to discuss their future with the club, reports ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun. However, LeBrun doesn’t expect that anything will happen aside from the twins playing out the final year of their contracts. He notes that Vancouver greatly values their leadership especially as with the team being in the process of integrating several young players into their lineup. Of course, with each player carrying a $7MM cap hit, that too will likely play a role in them sticking around for next season.
- While the Red Wings won’t be making the postseason, they don’t plan on bringing their top prospects up to get their feet wet at the NHL level between now and the end of the year, head coach Jeff Blashill told Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press. Instead, the team wants to keep them with Grand Rapids of the AHL in the hopes of a lengthy postseason run and feels that’s more valuable than a short-term NHL appearance that could potentially disrupt their chances down there. Accordingly, Detroit will look to their veterans (such as Ben Street who was shuffled up and down recently) at the minor league to fill any spots over these final few weeks.