After a 4-3 shootout loss to the New York Rangers at home on Thursday night, a game which they led 3-1 in the third period, the Minnesota Wild announced on Friday morning that they have relieved head coach Bruce Boudreau of his coaching duties. Assistant coach Dean Evason was named interim head coach.
— Minnesota Wild (@mnwild) February 14, 2020
While the Wild are 6-3-1 in their last 10, their 3-2 shootout loss to the New York Rangers on Thursday pushed them three points behind the Arizona Coyotes for the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference. Though, they have lost two of their last three in regulation.
Bruce Boudreau is the eighth head coach fired this season, matching the bloodiest season for in-season coaching changes in league history, according to Elias.
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) February 14, 2020
After back-to-back five-game exits in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in each of Boudreau’s first two seasons as head coach of the Wild, they missed the postseason for the first time since 2012 by seven points last season. The Wild finished second in the Western Conference and fifth in the NHL with 106 points in Boudreau’s first season in Minnesota in 2016-17.
Boudreau is now the eighth NHL head coach to leave their team this season after the Toronto Maple Leafs fired Mike Babcock on November 20, Bill Peters resigned as Calgary Flames head coach on November 26, the New Jersey Devils fired John Hynes on December 3, the Dallas Stars fired Jim Montgomery on December 10, the San Jose Sharks fired Peter DeBoer on December 16, the Nashville Predators fired Peter Laviolette on January 6, and the Vegas Golden Knights fired Gerard Gallant on January 15.
The Wild have not gotten out of the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs since 2015 and out of the second since 2003. Former Wild GM Paul Fenton was reportedly about to fire Boudreau after last season but their owner did not let that happen. Fenton was fired at the end of July.
The Wild’s average of 3.07 goals-per-game is 16th in the NHL this season while their average of 3.19 goals-against per game is the eighth-most. Their 22.4% power-play efficiency is tied with the Florida Panthers for eighth while their 74.4% penalty-killing rate is only better than the Predators (74%). In addition, the Wild’s average of 29.6 shots-per-game is the fifth-lowest in the NHL. Though, they are 12th with an average of 30.6 shots-against per game.
Earlier this week, the Wild started a rebuild by trading forward Jason Zucker to the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for defensive prospect Cale Addison, a conditional first-round pick (in 2020 or 2021 if the Penguins miss the Stanley Cup Playoffs), and forward Alex Galchenyuk. They are expected to be big sellers at the NHL Trade Deadline, which is February 24. Defensemen Matt Dumba and Jonas Brodin are among those reportedly on the trade black
In 13 seasons as an NHL head coach with the Wild, Washington Capitals, and Anaheim Ducks, the 65-year old has a 567-302-115 record in the regular season. He was hired mid-year by the Capitals during the 2007-08 season and led them to the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in the Alex Ovechkin era with 11 wins in the final 12 games of the season. Boudreau won the Jack Adams Award as the NHL’s coach of the year that season. In five seasons with the Capitals, Boudreau went 201-88-40. He guided them to their first Presidents’ Trophy in 2009-10 and to the top of the Eastern Conference again the next season but was never able to get them past the second round.
Boudreau has took his team to a Conference Final only once. That came with the Anaheim Ducks in 2015, when they fell in seven games to the eventual Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks.
The Wild host the Sharks on Saturday evening.
By Harrison Brown