Buffalo, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - The Buffalo Sabres have named Dan Bylsma as their new head coach.
Bylsma spent six seasons as the head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins, leading the franchise to the Stanley Cup title in the spring of 2009, but he was fired last May in a housecleaning after a disappointing playoff exit.
The 44-year-old Bylsma guided the Penguins to a record of 252-117-32 with four 100-point seasons and six playoff berths during his tenure, earning the Jack Adams Award as the league's top coach in 2011.
However, after the Pens won the Stanley Cup in 2009, the club won just four playoff series in the subsequent five seasons and twice lost a series in which the club held a 3-1 advantage.
"This is an opportunity to develop with a team, develop with an organization, putting a winning team on the ice," Bylsma said. "I'm here to develop a winning culture and a winning team."
The Sabres needed a replacement for Ted Nolan, who was fired in April after the team finished with the fewest points in the NHL for a second year in a row.
Bylsma most recently served as an assistant coach for the United States at the recently completed 2015 World Hockey Championship in the Czech Republic. He was also the head coach for Team USA at the 2014 Winter Olympics.
The Sabres weren't the only team interested in Bylsma. It had been reported that the New Jersey Devils wanted to speak with him about their coaching vacancy.
"He's been through it, Stanley Cup Final as a player, winning Stanley Cup as a coach. He's a winner. Knows what it takes," Buffalo general manager Tim Murray said.
In New Jersey, he would have been reunited with new Devils general manager Ray Shero, who was the GM at Pittsburgh when Bylsma was elevated from the head coach at the Penguins' minor league affiliate to the NHL post in 2009.