5 Candidates to Replace Dan Bylsma as Coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins

Dave Lozo@@davelozoNHL National Lead WriterJune 6, 2014

5 Candidates to Replace Dan Bylsma as Coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins

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    Uncredited/Associated Press

    This feels like it has happened about a dozen times in the past two seasons, but the Pittsburgh Penguins made it official FridayTVA's Louis Jean reported that head coach Dan Bylsma was fired.

    The move came hours after NHL.com's Wes Crosby reported the hiring of former Carolina Hurricanes general manager Jim Rutherford to replace Ray Shero in the same position.

    There already have been some big names hired as coaches during the playoffs—Barry Trotz took the job in Washington while Peter Laviolette was hired to take the job opening left in Nashville by Trotz's dismissal. However, this opening in Pittsburgh will probably be the most coveted job this summer.

    Here are five potential candidates to replace Bylsma.

John Stevens

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    Most recent job: John Stevens is currently an assistant coach with the Los Angeles Kings, a position he's held since the 2011-12 season.

    Coaching credentials: He's three wins away from winning a second Stanley Cup as an assistant in Los Angeles. He spent four seasons as head coach of the Philadelphia Flyers from 2006-10. He was the interim head coach of the Kings in 2012 between the firing of Terry Murray and the hiring of Darryl Sutter.

Ron Wilson

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    Most recent job: Head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs, fired March 2, 2012.

    Coaching credentials: He's either very qualified or very suspect, depending on how you look at his resume. He's been a head coach for four teams, which also means he's been fired four times. He has 18 seasons' worth of head coaching experience, but has never guided a team to a title.

Willie Desjardins

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    Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

    Most recent job: Willie Desjardins (coach on the right) is the head coach of the Texas Stars, the AHL affiliate of the NHL's Dallas Stars. This is his second season with Texas, which is playing in the Calder Cup Final.

    Coaching credentials: Before amassing a record of 91-30 over two seasons in the AHL, he served as an associate coach with Dallas. The 57-year-old won two WHL Championships as coach of the Medicine Hat Tigers. He could be the next AHL coach to make a splash in the NHL, a la Jon Cooper with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

John Hynes

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    Most recent job: John Hynes is the coach of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, the AHL affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins. He has held the job since 2010.

    Coaching credentials: The 39-year-old has taken the AHL's Penguins to the postseason in four straight years. If the Penguins want to hire an in-house candidate, he's the guy. However, it's likelier that Rutherford opts for a more seasoned head coach for a team that is built to win now.

Mike Keenan

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    Most recent job: Mike Keenan won a title in the KHL this season, guiding Metallurg Magnitogorsk to the Gagarin Cup. His last NHL coaching job was as head man for the Calgary Flames in 2008-09.

    Coaching credentials: He hasn't been in the NHL for quite some time, but has done his fair share of winning. Keenan ranks sixth all-time in coaching wins with 672 and led the Rangers to a Stanley Cup in 1994. Before Bylsma was fired, Sportsnet's Nick Kypreos (h/t Hope_Smoke on Twitter) said the Penguins were considering hiring Keenan as coach.