Bruce Boudreau has been fired by the Minnesota Wild with 25 games remaining and the team sitting three points out of a wild card spot.
“I would like to thank Bruce for his hard work and commitment to the Minnesota Wild during his tenure with the organization and wish him and his family the best in the future,” said Wild GM Bill Guerin in a statement.
Dean Evason, who was named an assistant in June 2018, has been named interim head coach.
Guerin made the decision Friday morning, a day after a 4-3 shootout loss to the Rangers. Despite a sluggish start to the season, they had been playing well of late going 7-3-1 in their previous 10 games. Still Boudreau being firing felt inevitable as he coached the final year of his deal.
In parts of four seasons under Boudreau, the Wild compiled a 158-110-35 record and the 12th-best points percentage since his hiring in 2016. He led the team to two playoff appearances, which both ended in five games in Round 1.
You can also point the finger at one area that ends up costing head coaches their jobs: goaltending. Since Boudreau was hired, the team’s even strength save percentage has gone from .926 and .927 in his first two years to .912 in each of the past two seasons.
Boudreau, who marks the eighth NHL coaching change this season, is an interesting free agent on the market at the moment. The Devils, Flames, Sharks, Stars all currently employ interim head coaches, while teams like the Red Wings and Sabres could potentially be seeking new bench bosses in the near future. Any one of them could benefit from hiring Boudreau, who has a track record of improving teams after coming on board.
There’s also the possible interest by the Seattle expansion franchise who will begin play with the 2021-22 NHL season. But given Boudreau’s work history, he’s not out of a coaching gig for very long. It should be interesting to see if any teams move quick to lock up his services.