The Hockey News tabs Bylsma as best potential replacement coach

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The bad news for former Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma is that he found himself without a job once the smoke cleared from the NHL coaching carousel.

The good news is that he’s still getting paid in the meantime and that he’s one firing away from potentially finding himself in a fantastic situation. Of course, that hypothetical franchise would need to have mutual interest, but it’s easy to picture Bylsma replacing any number of head coaches who may head into 2014-15 on the hot seat.

(Imagine, for a moment, Bylsma sporting those glasses of his in Brooklyn during the 2015-16 season …)

It’s no surprise that The Hockey News tabbed him as the No. 1 choice in its top five “replacement” coaches list. Here’s the entry:

1. Dan Bylsma
Fired by the Penguins after another disappointing playoff result, it’s only a matter of time before Bylsma finds his next job. He was in the running for a few jobs this past summer (Florida, Vancouver) but he can afford to wait for the perfect fit. He’s won a Stanley Cup and coached USA at the Olympics last winter, but has come under fire for his tactics and lack of in-game adjustments. Any team that fires its coach mid-season will have a long look at Bylsma.

One might downgrade Byslma’s accomplishments in Pittsburgh thanks to the presence of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, yet that disregards the fact that one (or both) of those players missed significant chunks of time nearly every year he was behind the Penguins’ bench. The team also shook off injuries to valuable players like Kris Letang and consistently ranked among the East’s most successful teams.

Sure, there have been playoff disappointments, but how many NHL teams have totally sidestepped such issues?

Yes, there’s the view that Bylsma’s coaching was Team USA’s downfall, and he did at least slightly luck-in to a roster strong enough to win a Stanley Cup, but there are few clearly superior choices among the unemployed (if nothing else).

There are some other interesting names on that list, including former Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Guy Boucher. (Pro: the scar would return; Con: the 1-3-1 might come back with it.) Check out the full post here.