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Dan Bylsma to Sabres: Latest Contract Details, Comments and Reaction

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistMay 28, 2015

Feb 3, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma (right) gestures on the bench against the Ottawa Senators during the second period at the CONSOL Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Dan Bylsma is headed back to an NHL bench, agreeing to become the next coach of the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday, per the team's Twitter account:  

Buffalo Sabres @BuffaloSabres

BREAKING NEWS: Dan Bylsma has been named the 17th head coach in #Sabres franchise history. #WelcomeDan http://t.co/vQ6FbdPDnY

Bylsma, 44, has been seen as an option to join Buffalo since the team lost out on Mike Babcock, who spurned the Sabres for Toronto. The former United States Olympic coach spent the 2014-15 season out of hockey while on the Pittsburgh Penguins' payroll.

Darren Dreger of TSN reported the Sabres will send a 2016 third-round pick to Pittsburgh for Bylsma's rights.

Buffalo Bills head coach Rex Ryan welcomed Bylsma to the community, via the Bills on Twitter:

Buffalo Bills @buffalobills

From one head coach to another, welcome to the #OneBuffalo family! #Sabres #WelcomeDan https://t.co/tWiCMRZKMi

Bylsma previously spent parts of six seasons on the Penguins bench, winning the 2009 Stanley Cup and making the playoffs each year. He was fired following the 2013-14 campaign due to the perceived playoff failures of a high-cost, star-laden roster. Pittsburgh was eliminated in the first round in Mike Johnston's inaugural season.   

The Sabres went 23-51-8 last season under recently fired head coach Ted Nolan, their fourth straight campaign out of the playoffs. They are in the midst of a wide-scale rebuilding effort, which has seen the club dump a number of high-cost veterans in hopes of developing young talent. Wingers Evander Kane and Tyler Ennis and defenseman Zach Bogosian are on board as foundational pieces, but Bylsma inherits a job far more complicated than the one he took over in Pittsburgh.

There is no Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin this time around. The Sabres' best hope will come in June, where American center Jack Eichel looks like a strong fit with the No. 2 overall selection. Bylsma and Eichel already have a relationship from their 2015 IIHF World Championship experience.

Pete Jensen 🏒 @NHLJensen

#Sabres have so much youth/upside. Still need a goalie & depth on 'D', but Cup winner like Bylsma brings accountability & speeds up rebuild.

At the very least, Bylsma is an accomplished name who will drive interest into the scuffling Sabres franchise. Given the level of coverage their failed effort to land Babcock received, Bylsma is arguably the best possible face-saving outcome.

Follow Tyler Conway (@tylerconway22) on Twitter.

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