Uncertain Future for Seattle Kraken’s Head Coach Dave Hakstol

Seattle Kraken General Manager Ron Francis at the post-season interview.
Photo: nhl.com

As the NHL’s inaugural season ends for the 2023-24 season, uncertainty looms over the future of Seattle Kraken’s coaching staff. Recent remarks made by the team’s general manager, Ron Francis, have sparked speculation and debate about the future of current Head Coach Dave Hakstol. With the Kraken in evaluation mode for both coaches and players, important decisions will be made that will shape the seasons to come. 

The 2023-24 season was rocky for the Seattle Kraken, with many ups and downs. The Kraken roster was on a constant rotation of players out with injuries, which heavily impacted the team’s chemistry and contributed to their poor performance. Additionally, the Kraken also struggled with shooting and goal scoring, seeing a significant dip compared to the previous 2022-23 season. 

“We were first in shooting percentage last year. This year, I think we were twenty-eighth. We were fourth in goals for last year, and this year we’re twenty-ninth,” Francis said, showcasing his disappointment during his end-of-season interview. “That’s an area we certainly have to look at and try to figure out why (scoring) didn’t happen.”

Over the past three seasons, Hakstol has led the Kraken to a 107-112-27 record. In their second year, the Kraken finished the season with 100 points and a spot in the playoffs, making it to game seven of the second round against the Dallas Stars. This year, they ended with 81 points and were officially eliminated from a chance in the playoffs during the first week of April. However, the team had fallen apart long before then, with a significant struggle in their offense and an eight-game losing streak.

Seattle Kraken Players Jordan Eberle (7), Vince Dunn (29), and Jared McCann on the ice.
Photo via Seattle Kraken Twitter

Francis wouldn’t give a direct answer when asked about Hakstol’s status. “You’re going to read into that one way or the other, but this is the process we do every year, and that’s what we’re in right now.” 

Sports journalist Elliotte Friedman shared his opinions on his podcast 32 Thoughts, stating that he doesn’t believe this is a “Ron Francis-type move.” However, if changes are made, Friedman speculates the franchise could be looking at Coachella Valley, the Krakens AHL affiliate team’s Head Coach, Dan Bylsma.

Bylsma was named head coach for Coachella Valley Firebirds when the team was created in 2022. He has eight seasons of NHL Head Coach experience, led the Pittsburgh Penguins to a Stanley Cup win in 2009, and has landed the Firebirds a spot in the 2024 Calder Cup Playoffs, making him a successful potential candidate.  

As the offseason unfolds and the Seattle Kraken’s coaching staff’s future is in question, fans are bracing themselves for potential changes that could redefine the franchise’s future. Whether it’s a continuation of Hakstol or the arrival of a new head coach, one thing is clear: a significant amount of work will be required for the Kraken to make a strong comeback next season. 

We Got The Jack Inside The Rink

In episode 8 of the Inside The Rink podcast, Matty and Smitty are joined by new co-host Conrad Jack. After the long hiatus, we get back to hockey with a PACKED episode!Matt Rempe & the Devils vs. Rangers Line BrawlCould the Vancouver Canucks squander a playoff opportunity? Have the Winnipeg Jets finally figured out their lines?Flyers Head Coach John Tortorella is a sound byte MACHINEOvechkin is on his way to 895, Who is next?McDavid joins elite company with 100 Assists in a seasonRyan Hartman was suspended 3 Games, was it worth 3 games??Can Auston Matthews hit 70 Goals this season?The Eastern Conference Wild Card race is heating up, who lands the two playoff berths?For all of your hockey news and more from the show, visit us at insidetherink.com and watch us on YouTube! How to support us and our sponsors:TicketmasterColumbia Sports ApparelESPN+ SubscriptionFanaticsDraft Kings – CODE ITR
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