Seattle Kraken extend Dave Hakstol's contract after surprising 2022-23 season

Jul. 19—GRAND FORKS — Dave Hakstol led the Seattle Kraken this season to the biggest improvement by a franchise from Year 1 to Year 2 in NHL history.

He was named one of three finalists for the Jack Adams Award as the NHL's coach of the year.

That success has brought him a new deal.

Seattle announced Wednesday it has extended Hakstol's contract through the 2025-26 season. Terms of the deal were not released.

"We believe we are heading in the right direction with Dave as our head coach and it was important to show that confidence with this contract extension," general manager Ron Francis said in a statement. "Dave and his staff have done a great job of creating a close-knit, team-first mindset in our locker room and their work ethic helps set the tone for our team."

The Kraken unexpectedly reached the Stanley Cup Playoffs after a 40-point improvement from their inaugural season. They knocked out defending champion Colorado in the first round of the playoffs in seven games.

Seattle's run ended in Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals to Dallas.

Seattle had a couple of key additions to its team in Year 2, including No. 2 overall draft pick Matty Beniers, who went on to win the Calder Trophy as the NHL's rookie of the year.

Among the top highlights in the regular season: a seven-game winning streak in November and December, and going 7-0 on a seven-game road trip in January. The Kraken became the first team in NHL history to pull off that feat.

"Every time we won, we built a little more confidence and a little more belief in the fact that we had a chance to be a good team," Hakstol said. "We weren't given the time of day from the outside world and our guys were OK with that. They were comfortable with that. In the dressing room, we had a great group of guys. They thrived on everyone having to do their part night in and night out. If everyone didn't, we didn't have a great chance to win. That was something that really empowered our group."

Hakstol served as UND's head coach from 2004-15.

He became the first college coach in nearly 30 years to go straight from the NCAA to an NHL head coaching job in May 2015, when he joined the Philadelphia Flyers.

Hakstol led the Flyers to the playoffs in two of his three full seasons with the team. The Flyers fired Hakstol in December 2018. He joined the Toronto Maple Leafs for two seasons as an assistant coach (2019-21) before being hired as Seattle's first coach.

Hakstol finished third in Jack Adams voting behind Boston Bruins coach Jim Montgomery and New Jersey Devils coach Lindy Ruff.

The Kraken are scheduled to open the regular season Oct. 10 in Las Vegas against the defending Stanley Cup champion Golden Knights.