Seattle Kraken have their first head coach in Dave Hakstol

Dave Hakstol assistant coaches
Dave Hakstol at his Kraken presser (Seattle Kraken)

The Seattle Kraken know how to do things in style. An intro video was kicked off by Ron Francis to announce Dave Hakstol as their first head coach. After it was done Hakstol remarked, “Awesome introduction!”

“This is a dream that has come true,” he said. “An awesome opportunity.”

Dave Hakstol makes franchise history, named Kraken head coach on June 24, 2021. Joins NHL’s 32nd team after deep search by GM Ron Francis, who sought leader with NHL head coach experience, plus emphatically checks boxes for leadership, character and player development: “Dave is confident, strong on technical aspects of playing three-zone game.”

Seattle Kraken

Why Dave Hakstol?

Ron Francis cited Hakstol’s experience and winning record at every level. What he was looking for in a coach was someone who understood systems and could get a team to play in all three zones. “We had interviews last summer and Dave was one of them,” the GM said. Overall, Francis explained they started off with a list of about 100 and interviewed 8. Those discussions obviously culminated in Hakstol’s hiring today.

dave hakstol seattle kraken
Nov 27, 2018; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Flyers head ocas Dave Hakstol behind the bench against the Ottawa Senators during the third period at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Analytics played a role in choosing Hakstol with Francis saying the ownership wants it to be one of the tools used and that even in his interview it was brought up. Hakstol said that analytics are a great but added a caveat. “This is still a game played on emotions,” he noted and that’s how he will coach.

Hakstol’s recent experience as an assistant coach with the Toronto Maple Leafs was a big factor in his hiring as well. Francis indicated his work with helping a young Leafs team become a contender was a huge plus in his favor.

What’s next?

The next steps for the management group will be to hire assistant coaches. Dave Hakstol and Ron Francis will work on putting together a “well rounded staff.” They would like to get it done quickly but want to make sure they get the right people.

Here are some key dates to keep your eye on:

  • 7/17 – Protected Lists Submitted
  • 7/18 to 7/20 – Seattle UFA Period Begins (they get first crack at talking to UFAs)
  • 7/21 – Expansion Draft
  • 7/23 – NHL Entry Draft
  • 7/28 – Free Agency officially opens