The Seattle Kraken have extended head coach Dave Hakstol’s contract through the 2025-26 season.
While the financials of the two-year extension have not been disclosed, it gives the franchise’s first ever head coach a sense of security after a 40-point jump from their inaugural season to their sophomore season where they had their first 100-point season in franchise history.
The contract will begin in the 2024-25 season, and it is a well-earned one considering that Hakstol was a Jack Adams Award finalist for coach of the year.
Kraken Set for Long-Term Success with Hakstol
During the course of the 2022-23 season, Hakstol coached the team to a number of firsts in franchise history. They made the playoffs for the first time and even became the first team ever to knock off a defending Stanley Cup champion in their first ever playoff series. They then took the Dallas Stars to seven games, and even though they missed out on a chance at the Western Conference Final, general manager Ron Francis praised Hakstol and his coaching staff.
“Dave and the staff did a great job,” said Francis in May. “I thought [there] was probably some unfair criticism thrown that way in the first year. Ultimately Dave’s the one that’s, on a daily basis, in the room, steering that ship. I get to sit up top and watch, and we have conversations, but he has to go in every day and work in that room. You saw it from our guys from start to finish. They were a gutsy group, a gritty group, and that’s a reflection on him and how he prepares and wants his teams to play.”
The campaign was, by far, Hakstol’s most successful season as an NHL head coach, and while he might not be a big name in the NHL coaching ranks, he fits with what Seattle has up and down the lineup. It’s not filled with star talent, but they’re scoring by committee, no matter which line they send out.
Hakstol Looking Forward to the Future
When the team first stepped foot on the ice at the beginning of the 2021-22 season, there were mixed reactions as to how they would perform out of the gates. Some said that they would make the playoffs, while others said they would struggle like most other expansion teams would. They then finished 30th in the league, struggling because of facets like poor goaltending, injuries, or COVID-19.
Expectations heading into 2022-23 were low as a result. But bringing in forwards André Burakovsky and Oliver Bjorkstrand, defenseman Justin Schultz, and a full season of eventual Calder Trophy winner Matty Beniers, including the additions of midseason waiver claims Eeli Tolvanen and Daniel Sprong, were significant upgrades to the roster. Hakstol had them play to their strengths, those being the team’s speed and depth.
This coming season, the Kraken will see some departures and arrivals, with Sprong, Martin Jones, Ryan Donato, Carson Soucy, and Morgan Geekie going elsewhere. Defenseman Brian Dumoulin and forwards Pierre-Édouard Bellemare and Kailer Yamamoto were brought in during the free agency period, though expect some of the team’s younger guys to push for roster spots, including forwards Shane Wright and Tye Kartye, and defenseman Ryker Evans.
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