Dan Bylsma will be the next head coach of the National Hockey League’s Buffalo Sabres.
Bylsma, from Grand Haven and a graduate of Western Michigan Christian High School, is returning to the NHL after taking a year off from coaching. He was fired by the Pittsburgh Penguins after last season.
On Thursday, the Associated Press reported that Bylsma, 44, and the Sabres had reached an agreement on a 5-year deal. The Penguins will receive a draft pick since Bylsma is still under contract with the Penguins for another year. The Sabres will give up one of their third-round draft picks to the Penguins in 2016.
Buffalo is coming off an NHL-worst 23-51-8 record for 54 points.
The Sabres had been in the sweepstakes to sign Mike Babcock after he left the Detroit Red Wings, but when Babcock went to Toronto, the Sabres’ shifted their focus to Bylsma.
Following two days of meetings with owners Terry and Kim Pegula, Bylsma was tabbed the next coach, according to the AP.
Bylsma became the Penguins’ interim coach in February, 2009, and guided the Penguins to the Stanley Cup title that spring. He coached the Penguins the next 5 seasons. He enjoyed plenty of regular-season success, but his teams struggled to meet expectations in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
He also won the Jack Adams Trophy as the NHL’s top coach in 2010-11.
Bylsma is a 1988 graduate of Western Michigan Christian High School.