February 14 — The Wild had given up a lead and eventually lost to the New York Rangers the night before, but unexpectedly Bruce Boudreau was given the news that he would no longer be the coach of the Minnesota Wild.
Boudreau would not get the chance to get the Wild past the second round, which hasn’t occurred since the 2002-2003 season. He also wouldn’t see Kirill Kaprizov’s debut, coach the Wild in the upcoming winter classic, or lead the Wild to its first Stanley Cup in franchise history.
Who will be the next Minnesota Wild head coach? Whenever the offseason may be, Wild GM Bill Guerin will have a very tough decision to make as to who is the most qualified and best fit to be the next head coach for the Minnesota Wild.
The play-in series and playoffs could be very influential as to whether Guerin decides to give interim Wild head coach Dean Evason the edge over veteran and experienced coaches of the likes of Gerald Gallant or Peter Laviolette.
First Choice — Gerald Gallant
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Gallant has been the coach for three teams: the Columbus Blue Jackets, Florida Panthers, and Vegas Golden Knights. Gallant has a coaching record of 270-216-55. In his 541 games, he has a .545 win percentage and a .550 point percentage. His recent stint in Vegas was by far his most impressive as he led the Knights to the finals in their inaugural season.
The Vegas Golden Knights were on the verge of their third straight playoff appearance with Gallant until he was unexpectedly fired and replaced by the coach of the San Jose Sharks Peter DeBoer which just happens to be the Golden Knights rival.
Second Choice — Peter Laviolette
Laviolette is my second choice, although he could easily be my first choice too. Laviolette has been a coach for four teams including the New York Islanders, Carolina Hurricanes, Philadelphia Flyers, and the Nashville Predators. Laviolette has a coaching record of 637-425-148. In his 1,210 games, he has a .524 win percentage and a .588 point percentage.
Although Laviolette helped Nashville become a perennial playoff team similar to the Wild, the lack of success in the playoffs is what caused the firing of Laviolette.
Third Choice — Dean Evason
Then assistant coach Dean Evason was named the interim head coach until the coaching process is completed and a decision is made. Dean Evason went 8-4 after Boudreau was fired. Evason looked calm and steady behind the bench and could be a potential dark horse candidate in all of this along with Dough Weight. The “play-in” series will likely have an immense effect on whether or not Guerin decides to name Evason the fifth head coach in Wild history.
It will likely depend on the availability of the candidates when the time comes for the Wild to go through an in-depth process and search for the next head coach, Laviolette or Gallant may already be with an NHL team.
My Wild Card Choice — Bruce Boudreau
One could only wish, I miss Boudreau’s fire.
*Honorable Mentions Include Mike Babcock, John Stevens and Doug Weight