The San Jose Sharks and head coach Todd McLellan have mutually parted ways after being behind the bench since 2008. Now, the future of the Sharks is in flux.
There are many candidates the Sharks could shoot for this offseason. This could be one of the most affluent free agent classes when it comes to head coaches in recent memory. Already, there is Craig Berube, Peter DeBoer, Randy Carlyle and Ted Nolan. That is without thinking about the fact that Bruce Boudreau, Ken Hitchcock, Claude Julien and Mike Babcock could be available depending on what happens over the next few weeks. None of those are the answer to the Sharks issues.
Dan Bylsma is the perfect fit for the Sharks. He knows what it is like to work with superstars, working with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin for the Pittsburgh Penguins. He is a former Stanley Cup winner and Jack Adams award winner, so he comes into the locker room with some credibility that some of the other candidates don’t have.
The Sharks are about to go through a reboot this offseason. Fully expect to see players like Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau to be sold off for parts. They are going to move forward with the youth movement, giving the reigns of the team to Joe Pavelski, Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Logan Couture. Bylsma is the kind of guy that can calm the locker room during this difficult time in the franchise.
He is known as a players coach. The Sharks did not have any fun playing hockey this season. While this is a job, it isn’t supposed to be a typical 9-to-5. The players have to travel for the majority of the season, being away from their families. They are peppered with questions at all times from the media and the fans of the team. I’m not implying that being an athlete is so bad, but the second it becomes more like a job, these things become more tedious. If that is the case, you won’t get the most out of your players.
Bylsma is the guy to bring in. He learned from his time with the Pens. He will try to be more creative in his time with the Sharks. Getting an established name is something that GM Doug Wilson needs to do. With the front office for the Sharks acting as they have the past few years, they need someone who is going to make people want to play for the team. Bylsma is ready to take another team to the Stanley Cup. The Sharks are more than ready to make their first ever finals. They are out of the playoffs for the first time since 2003. They can go on another great stretch if they put Bylsma behind the bench.