Report: Minnesota Wild expected to announce Mike Yeo as next head coach on Friday

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There were many rumors in hockey circles that the Minnesota Wild would make Craig MacTavish the third head coach in their franchise history. It appears that won’t be the case, at least if respected Minnesota beat writer Michael Russo’s report is correct. Russo’s sources indicate that Wild GM Chuck Fletcher will announce that Mike Yeo will be their next head coach on Friday.

As we’ve discussed before, there seems to be two trends in the coach hiring habits of NHL franchises lately: teams are either going for assistant coaches on successful NHL teams or head coaches of successful AHL teams. It’s almost as if they want to start with fresh minds rather than giving former NHL head coaches (some might call “retreads”) another shot.

Yeo (featured in the main image on the right) fits under the category of “head coach for a successful AHL team.” He also fits the trend of moving up quickly from those ranks; he spent just one season behind the bench of the Houston Aeros, the Minnesota Wild’s affiliate team. It was a very successful season, as he posted a 46-28-6 regular-season record and helped the team make it all the way to the 2011 Calder Cup finals. The Aeros couldn’t hold off the Binghamton Senators after building a 3-1 series lead, however.

Beyond proving himself in the Wild’s minor league system, Yeo also worked with Fletcher during their days with the Pittsburgh Penguins franchise. Yeo mapped out why he could be the right man for the job to Kevin Gorg of FS North.

5. KG: How interested are you in the head coaching position with the Minnesota Wild?
YEO: I am very interested and have no problem stating my passion for that job. When I made the move from the Pittsburgh Penguins, I had that spot in mind and feel strongly that I am ready for that job. I know (general manager) Chuck Fletcher and the organization have a tough decision in front of them and I might not be the right fit at the right time, but make no mistake: I think I am the right guy.

It looks like he’ll get the chance to prove that statement to be true in the 2011-12 season.