It has been a disappointing season in Minnesota with one big change already being made when Jason Zucker was traded to Pittsburgh. Another big change has come with the team announcing that head coach Bruce Boudreau has been relieved of his duties. They also announced that assistant coach Dean Evason is taking over on an interim basis.
The Wild currently sit in a tie for fifth place in the Central Division with Nashville and are three points out of the final Wild Card spot in the ultra-tight Western Conference. If they fail to make the playoffs, it’ll be the second straight year that they miss after six straight appearances from 2012-13 through 2017-18.
Boudreau was in his fourth season with the team with Minnesota playing to a 158-110-35 record under his guidance. That’s the twelfth-best points percentage in the league since 2016 when he took over. The Wild made the playoffs in the first two seasons but lost in the first round both times. The timing of the change comes after Minnesota blew a 3-1 lead against the Rangers on Thursday night but the Wild are still 6-3-1 in their last ten games.
Boudreau’s contractual situation is also worth noting. As Pierre LeBrun of TSN and The Athletic notes (Twitter link), Boudreau was in the final year of his deal as head coach with two more years left on his contract after that in a consulting role. From Guerin’s point of view, once he fully decided that Boudreau wouldn’t be kept on as coach following the season, making the move now makes sense even if it comes just ten days before the trade deadline.
Boudreau has twice been fired but hasn’t stayed on the market for long. It took just two days from him to go from Washington to Anaheim in 2011-12 and only a week to do from the Ducks to the Wild in 2016 although that move came after the season. Considering the frequency of coaching changes this season – this is number eight – it’s certainly possible that his time on the market could be short-lived once again.
As for Evason, this will be his first head coaching job at the NHL level. He’s in his second year behind the bench as an assistant with Minnesota but before that, he spent six seasons as the bench boss with AHL Milwaukee. TSN’s Darren Dreger notes (Twitter link) that the job is expected to be his for the remainder of the season with a permanent hire to come in the offseason.
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