Top candidates to replace Bylsma

It would not take Dan Bylsma long to land a new position, should he continue to coach. Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Jim Rutherford wasted no time making the change, mercifully letting Dan Bylsma go as his first course of action as the new general manager of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

It won't take long for Bylsma to find a job, if that’s what he wants to do. The more uncertain question is, who replaces him behind the bench in Pittsburgh?

The candidates you might connect initially to Rutherford -- Peter Laviolette and Paul Maurice -- have just locked up new deals. They’re out. Kirk Muller and his time with the Carolina Hurricanes didn’t end particularly well, so that’s another who would be a longshot.

Teams in the coaching search, such as Vancouver, Carolina and Florida, have been patient in part because some of the best candidates are still coaching, and that’s where the Penguins' search should start:

1. Ulf Samuelsson, New York Rangers assistant

He’s friendly with Penguins owner Mario Lemieux, which always helps the cause. Plus, he’s put in the time as an assistant in Phoenix and New York, along with head-coaching experience in Europe.

“I think he’s ready,” said Phoenix Coyotes GM Don Maloney, who worked with Samuelsson in Phoenix.