The New Jersey Devils are believed to have permission to talk to Dan Bylsma about their coaching position, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported Sunday.
Devils general manager Ray Shero hired Bylsma in 2009 with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Bylsma replaced Michel Therrien as coach on Feb. 15 and less than four months later led the Penguins to the Stanley Cup.
Bylsma was fired as Pittsburgh coach following the 2013-14 season, a few weeks after Shero lost his job as GM in the wake of the Penguins being eliminated by the New York Rangers in seven games of the Eastern Conference Second Round after holding a 3-1 series lead.
"I believe Dan is a really good coach," Shero told Northjersey.com earlier this month. "He'll be a head coach again in the National Hockey League, but I've got to do what's best for the Devils and Dan's got to do what's best for him, and if that leads us a certain way, so be it."
Bylsma's contract with Pittsburgh runs through the 2015-16 season, which is why a team would need permission to interview him.
Shero was hired by the Devils on May 4, replacing Lou Lamoriello, who remained as president of hockey operations. Lamoriello, Adam Oates and Scott Stevens finished this season as co-coaches.
The newspaper said the Penguins did not seek compensation for letting Shero join the Devils, satisfied letting his salary come off their payroll. Rutherford did not say if he would seek a draft pick if Bylsma were to get a coaching job.
"We don't want to jeopardize what [Shero and Bylsma] could do going forward," Rutherford said. "We'll just wait to see who Dan possibly could get hired by, and make that decision at the time."
The newspaper said Shero also may have gotten permission to talk to John Hynes, coach of the Penguins' American Hockey League affiliate, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, though Penguins GM Jim Rutherford wouldn't confirm that.
Bylsma is reportedly scheduled to meet with the Buffalo Sabres this week about their coaching vacancy after the Sabres failed in their bid to land Mike Babcock, who signed an eight-year contract May 20 to coach the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The San Jose Sharks also reportedly have permission to interview Bylsma, 44. Rutherford said Thursday that Bylsma is free to speak to any team.
Under Bylsma, the Penguins had four 100-point seasons and never finished worse than second in their division. They finished first in each of Bylsma's final two seasons but never made it back to the Stanley Cup Final. Bylsma was 252-117-32 in the regular season and 43-35 in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.