The Minnesota Wild may have been inconsistent in 2015-16, but they weren’t boring.
The Wild won seven of their first 10 regular season games last October and had a few other stretches where they seemed to be one of the powers in the Western Conference.
Unfortunately, there were also less flattering moments like the eight-game losing streak in February.
That streak cost head coach Mike Yeo his job, as he appeared to lose the locker room during that time. He tried scratching regulars like Thomas Vanek and Jason Zucker, but the team just didn’t respond in the way he had hoped.
Yeo was replaced by AHL coach John Torchetti and not only did the Wild snap their long losing streak in Torchetti’s first game, they went on to win four in a row.
Despite righting the ship (somewhat), the Wild decided to let Torchetti walk because they were able to land veteran coach Bruce Boudreau.
Boudreau gives the Wild a coach that’s been able to lead his teams to multiple winning seasons. The goal will be to develop that kind of winning culture starting in 2016-17.
In both cases, the deals don’t lock the Wild into anything long-term and the salaries aren’t outrageous either.
The Wild are one of the teams whose window may be closing pretty soon. Their core isn’t old, but they aren’t young either. Players like Zach Parise, Mikko Koivu and Ryan Suter are all over 30. Those veterans are surrounded by a few nice pieces like Mikael Granlund, Jonas Brodin and Marco Scandella, but there are question marks too.
Will Charlie Coyle build on his 20-goal season? Can Jason Zucker and Jonas Brodin rebound after disappointing years? Can Staal and Stewart rejuvenate their careers under Boudreau?
It should be an interesting season in Minny.