"Pretty significant" Seattle Kraken players refused to play with Dave Hakstol as head coach: Report

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Seattle Kraken at Colorado Avalanche
Some significant Kraken players did not wanted to play under Hakstol

The Seattle Kraken made it to the headlines for the first time after the regular season with the dismissal of head coach Dave Hakstol. After missing the playoffs, changes were expected but this one surprised fans. Now, the discussions about the future course of the team and replacement options for Hakstol are taking centerstage.

Hakstol, who was assigned as the first head coach of Kraken in 2021, had to deal with setbacks such as the dismal performance of the team which saw it miss the playoffs with a record of 34-35-13. Despite being a finalist for the Jack Adams Award in 2023, which recognizes outstanding coaching performances, Hakstol's overall record (107-112-27) with the Kraken was not enough to secure his position.

The catalyst for Dave Hakstol's departure appears to have been player dissatisfaction. According to reports from Insider Emily Kaplan, a significant number of players expressed their reluctance to continue with the team if Hakstol remained coach.

"Ron Francis did not want to make this move. Dave Hakstol is now one of four coaches who lost their jobs this cycle who didn't even have their extension kick-in yet." Kaplan said.
"But I was told, at the exit meetings with players, there was a handful of players and pretty significant players who made it clear to management, that 'I don't want to play on this team in the future if Dave Hakstol is still the coach' and that forced them to make a change."

This discontent, coupled with the team's inconsistent performance and multiple losing streaks, prompted Kraken management to seek a new voice for the coaching staff.

Also read: NHL fans react as Seattle Kraken fire head coach Dave Hakstol

Seattle Kraken GM Ron Francis comments on Dave Hakstol's firing

Kraken general manager Ron Francis, while acknowledging Hakstol's strengths as a coach and person, emphasized the need for change within the organization.

"It's never an easy day, it's never an easy decision," Francis said. " ... I thought we were a little more inconsistent than we had been, a few too many losing streaks, and losing streaks of significant numbers. And so, we just felt it was time to try a new voice here."

Francis highlighted Dave Hakstol's work ethic and dedication but ultimately felt that a different direction was necessary to address the team's challenges effectively.

With the search for a new head coach underway, a myriad of names are floating around as potential candidates. Dan Bylsma, who is now at the helm of the Kraken's AHL team, has emerged as a strong internal candidate for the job. Kaplan said:

"If they look internally, Dan Bylsma, who's running their AHL team, you remember him from the Sabres and Pittsburgh Penguins, has a very legitimate shot. He's done a great job with Coachella Valley. They're heading into the playoffs."

Nevertheless, external options are up for grabs, including veteran coaches like Rod Brind'Amour, as Kaplan added:

"But a lot of scuttlebutt here around the league is can Ron Francis probably rob Rod Brind'Amour away from Carolina? That's a situation we wouldn't see come to fruition until it comes."

While Hakstol's departure may signal the end of an era for the Kraken, it also opens the door to new opportunities and fresh perspectives as the team charts its course for the seasons ahead.

Also read: 5 best replacements for Seattle Kraken as next head coach after Dave Hakstol firing

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