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Monday, June 10, 2013
Bylsma could be top Rangers' candidate

By Katie Strang

Count Glen Sather as someone who will be keeping tabs on what happens in Pittsburgh this week.

Though the Rangers general manager and president is convening his staff for annual organizational meetings in La Quinta, Calif., he'll likely be interested to see what his Penguins counterpart, GM Ray Shero, does with head coach Dan Bylsma in the wake of Pittsburgh's stunning exit from the postseason.

Shero, whose star-studded Penguins squad was unceremoniously swept by the Bruins on Friday, faces a difficult decision in determining whether to dismiss Bylsma, a former Jack Adams Award winner, following the shocking defeat.

Dan Bylsma
Dan Bylsma was the NHL's coach of the year as recently as 2011.
If Shero does decide to make a change -- or Penguins co-owner Mario Lemieux pre-empts that decision -- you can assume Bylsma will jump to the top of the Rangers' wish list to fill their head coaching vacancy.

The Rangers would first need permission to speak with Bylsma,considering he has time remaining on his contract with Pittsburgh.

Sather, who dismissed John Tortorella following the Rangers' second-round exit, has already sought and received permission to speak with Alain Vigneault and Dallas Eakins, though the latter reportedly has an agreement in place to take over behind the bench for the Edmonton Oilers.

Longtime Sabres coach Lindy Ruff is also a top candidate, as is the Rangers' own Mark Messier, who has expressed interest in the top job.

This collection of coaching hopefuls is expected to be a hot topic of conversation among Rangers brass this week. After firing Tortorella, Sather said he'd like to have a new coach in place by the NHL draft, to be held in Newark, N.J., on June 30.

The team's staff is also likely to address the potential buyout of alternate captain Brad Richards as well as identify some attractive unrestricted free agents to target.

The Rangers are also looking to lock up franchise goaltender Henrik Lundqvist long-term this summer, in addition to re-signing key restricted free agents Carl Hagelin, Ryan McDonagh and Derek Stepan.