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Wednesday Offseason Caterwaul: Florida Panthers Open Forum

The Seattle Kraken have hired Dan Bylsma as an assistant coach for the American Hockey League’s Charlotte Checkers, which the expansion team will be sharing with the Florida Panthers this season. Bylsma will work with Charlotte head coach Geordie Kinnear.

Kinnear and Bylsma know each other from long-ago hockey development summer programs as players and even suited up together as teammates with the AHL’s Albany River Rats for three games during the 1993-94 season.

Bylsma, 50, spent the last two seasons as an assistant coach for the Detroit Red Wings. Prior to that he served eight seasons as a head coach in the NHL – with the Pittsburgh Penguins from 2009-15 and with the Buffalo Sabres from 2015-17 – winning a Stanley Cup and a Jack Adams Award as the league’s most outstanding coach during his time behind Pittsburgh’s bench.

Wong to attend Panthers camp

After going undrafted in June, diminutive Kelowna Rockets forward Trevor Wong has been invited to camp by the Cats. I’m assuming this means development camp. Wong put up six goals and ten assists in 16 games with the Rockets this past season.

According to EliteProspects 2021 NHL Draft Guide: He takes and makes passes without breaking stride, builds speed underneath the puck to create a speed advantage up the ice, and high crossover integration and dot lane use to manipulate defenders’ feet and drive plays up the middle. Wong’s always finding space, whether that’s off the rush or with sustained pressure. He fears nothing, evident by his constant attacks to the inside without a care for his safety.

NHL signings

The Detroit Red Wings avoided an arbitration hearing with forward Jakub Vrana by signing the 25-year-old to a three-year contract that carries an average annual value of $5.25 million. Detroit acquired Vrana from the Washington Capitals on April 12, and he put up eight goals and three assists in 12 games with the Red Wings following the trade.  (Winging it In Motown)

The Los Angeles Kings signed defenseman Brandt Clarke to an entry-level contract. Clarke was selected in the first round (8th overall) in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft. With the OHL on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Clarke played 26 games for MHC Nove Zamky of the Slovak Extraliga and produced 15 points. He won a silver medal with Canada at the World Junior Championship. (LA Kings Insider)

The Chicago Blackhawks inked Mike Hardman to a two-year contract extension with an AAV of $800K. Hardman appeared in three games with Chicago after leaving Boston College. His new deal will kick in at the start of the 2022-23 season. (Second City Hockey)