After winning a playoff round for the first time in 11 years, the Minnesota Wild will reportedly bring back the coach that led them there.
Mike Yeo is expected to agree to a contract extension soon, according to sources of the Pioneer Press. Those same sources claim that both Minnesota and Yeo have “expressed interest in getting a deal done,” a key point that illustrates 1) the Wild want to keep Yeo, despite letting him coach this entire season in the last of a three-year deal with no guarantee of anything beyond; 2) Yeo won’t be hitting the open market for any of the current available gigs (Vancouver, Carolina, Florida, Washington) or ones that might come up (Pittsburgh, specifically.)
Yesterday, we asked if Yeo did enough this year to stick in Minnesota — and answered it pretty quickly.
The NHL’s youngest head coach at age 40, Yeo led the Wild to 43 wins this year, third-most in franchise history, and 98 points in the ultra-competitive Central Division, which featured the NHL’s third (Colorado), fourth (St. Louis) and seventh (Chicago) place teams.
The Wild also won a playoff round for the first time in since 2003— dispatching of the Avs in seven games — and showed great resilience against Chicago in Round 2, rebounding from an 0-2 deficit to make the series quite competitive.
Yeo did all this despite tremendous uncertainty in goal all season long, using four different starters while losing the services Josh Harding after he played at a Vezina-calibre level to start the year. Yeo also kept the team afloat as injuries sidelined Zach Parise, Mikko Koivu and Mikael Granlund for a combined 51 games.
The Pioneer Press report did not sa7y anything about the future of Yeo’s staff, however. Assistants Rick Wilson, Darryl Sydor and Darby Hendrickson have been with Yeo throughout his three-year tenure and, following Tuesday’s loss to Chicago, Parise spoke highly of the entire staff.
“I think [all the coaches] did a good job,’’ Parise said, per the Star-Tribune. “We were prepared. We made adjustments when we needed to make adjustments, and we switched lines when we needed to.”