Its been over a week since the Pittsburgh Penguins’ fired general manager Ray Shero, and there’s still no idea what the franchise is going to do with head coach Dan Bylsma.
Bylsma, who endured his fifth consecutive postseason flame-out, was thought to be first on the chopping block, considering the Pens’ brass wanted him axed before this past season. However, his status, for now, remains up-in-the-air.
Bylsma’s fate will inevitably be decided when the new GM is hired, but there’s a growing feeling that because he kept his job on “D-day” that resulted in Shero losing his, Bylsma could surprisingly stay on as the ring leader for Pittsburgh next season.
Both Bylsma and Shero were reportedly set to lose their titles at the same time, however, Pittsburgh may have something brewing in the woodwork explaining why Bylsma wasn’t relieved yet.
With one-year left on his contract, Bylsma very well could stay alive for another year. But after that? Well, depending on the result, there’s speculation the Pens have set their sights on another popular coach.
One, Mike Babcock.
Babcock, who, like Bylsma, has one-year remaining on his current deal, is rumored to be a top target of the Penguins to hire as their new head coach next summer. And if the match comes to fruition, it’d be a perfect fit.
Babcock demands greatness from his players, and his addition would almost spark the leader in Sidney Crosby. Babcock knows Crosby from coaching him in the Olympics, and for that matter Chris Kunitz as well, and they’ve all won together. So, the familiarity is certainly there.
I know what outsiders may be thinking: why would Babcock leave a historic franchise like the Detroit Red Wings? It’s simple; his players are getting old.
Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg are not getting any younger, and both were frequently injured this past season. You can say the same thing about Johan Franzen, Niklas Kronwall – you get the idea. Although there’s promising young talent on the come up – Gustav Nyquist, Riley Sheahan, Tomas Tatar, etc. – if Babcock’s given an opportunity to coach Pittsburgh, I doubt he would turn it down.
Now, of course, there’s a definite, plausible reason to go back to Detroit, but Babcock knows that with his tutelage, Pittsburgh could achieve multiple Stanley Cups.
Think of it as when LeBron James left Cleveland to join Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade in Miami.