Sports

/

ArcaMax

New Kraken assistant Dave Lowry brings vast NHL playing experience to coaching staff

Geoff Baker, The Seattle Times on

Published in Hockey

One of the more interesting things about last season’s Kraken coaching staff was the limited NHL playing experience within its ranks.

That changed Monday when the team announced that former longtime NHL winger Dave Lowry has been added as a fourth assistant to Dave Hakstol’s staff. Lowry, 57, tallied 164 goals over parts of 19 seasons with five NHL teams, reaching the Stanley Cup Final with Florida in 1995-96.

He’d spent the past two seasons as a Winnipeg Jets assistant, taking over the head job on an interim basis in December when Paul Maurice resigned unexpectedly. After coaching the Jets to a season-ending victory over the Kraken, Lowry and the rest of the Winnipeg staff were let go before Rick Bowness being hired in July as the new bench boss.

Kraken general manager Ron Francis, in a team statement Monday, praised Lowry’s “long and successful NHL playing career” and “significant” coaching experience in the NHL and junior ranks. Lowry also was an NHL assistant coach for three seasons with the Calgary Flames, two more with the Los Angeles Kings and stints in the Western Hockey League and with Canada’s gold medal-winning national junior squad in 2015.

Still, it’s his time as an NHL player over 1,084 regular-season games and another 111 in the playoffs that separates Lowry from the rest of the Kraken staff. Kraken assistant Jay Leach had been that staff’s only member with NHL playing experience, compiling 70 games with five teams.

Hakstol’s playing career topped out in the minor professional International Hockey League. Assistant Paul MacFarland played Canadian college hockey, and goaltending coach Andrew Allen made it as far as a handful of American Hockey League games.

Allen was let go from coaching duties at season’s end but was rehired last week to his previous job as a Kraken goaltending scout. His replacement as goaltending coach, Steve Briere, got as far as the minor pro ECHL as a player.

 

Though some of the most successful coaches in NHL history — including Scotty Bowman, Ken Hitchcock, Barry Trotz and Mike Keenan — never even played minor pro hockey, it was somewhat unusual to have such little NHL playing experience spread across the entirety of the Kraken’s staff.

In fact, the Kraken coaches’ combined 70 games of NHL playing experience before Lowry’s hiring ranked last in the league.

The timing of the Lowry move comes after the Kraken spent much of the summer reworking their player ranks into a group that should be poised to add significantly more offense this season. The team recently picked up Columbus Blue Jackets winger Oliver Bjorkstrand for two draft picks via trade after signing free-agent winger Andre Burakovsky from the Colorado Avalanche and offensive-minded defenseman Justin Schultz from the Washington Capitals.

Beyond that, the team expects to add centerman prospect Matty Beniers to the lineup full-time. Fellow center Shane Wright, who surprisingly fell to them at No. 4 overall in last month’s draft, will likely to start the season with them as well.

The Kraken haven’t mentioned where Lowry’s area of focus will be, though the team statement noted the Jets’ penalty-killing unit improved nearly 10% after he took over behind the bench last season. Winnipeg’s goals per game — another area the Kraken need significant improvement on — rose from 2.96 to 3.09.

©2022 The Seattle Times. Visit seattletimes.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Comments

blog comments powered by Disqus