After a week of being the belle of the coaching vacancy ball, Bruce Boudreau has chosen the Minnesota Wild as the next team that he’ll lead to unparalleled regular season success before inevitable postseason failure.
Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher announced that the team came to terms with Boudreau, who was fired by the Anaheim Ducks just over a week ago after their first-round loss to the Nashville Predators.
Boudreau interviewed with the Ottawa Senators earlier this week, and there was some thought that might be his destination due to having family living in the area, including a granddaughter. The Calgary Flames, whose firing of coach Bob Hartley seemed conveniently timed to Boudreau’s, never interviewed him formally.
The Wild reportedly increased their bid for the coach after he visited the Senators.
Boudreau owns a record of 409-192-80 (.659) in nine seasons as an NHL head coach with the Anaheim Ducks and the Washington Capitals, leading his team to a division title eight times. Boudreau became the fastest coach in NHL history to reach the 400-win milestone (663 games) on March 5, 2016, and leads active NHL coaches in win percentage. He was a Jack Adams finalist in 2013-14, and won the award with the Capitals in 2007-08.
But obviously the legacy of Boudreau is that of his postseason record: 41-39, coaching in the conference finals once (2014-15) and sporting a 1-7 record in Games 7. (We chronicled the factors behind those failures in this article.)
Why do this if you’re the Wild?
First off, it’s a prestige hire. Boudreau was the biggest name on the market, and there’s no denying he gets results in the regular season. And his teams have a certain charisma, passion and likability, which have been in short order in Minnesota.
Secondly, his pedigree is as an offensive coach. From 2013-16, the Minnesota Wild were No. 22 in goals per game in the NHL at 2.60. Boudreau’s Ducks during that same span were No. 5 at 2.87.
As for Boudreau, the Wild are a bit closer to contending than are the Ottawa Senators or the Calgary Flames, at least in the short term. It’s fair to say that the Wild have about a three-year window here with Zach Parise (if healthy), Ryan Suter and Mikko Koivu all in their early 30s while Charlie Coyle and Mikael Granlund hit their mid 20s. And in Devan Dubnyk, an actual No. 1 goalie. Well, until Boudreau starts platooning him.
But now that he’s broken the bank for his coach, the attention for Fletcher turns to his other financial matters: Getting Boudreau the horses he needs on a team that already has $63.8 million dedicated to 35 contracts for next season.
Welcome to Minnesota, Bruce. One imagines it’s changed a bit since 1975, when you were a member of the Minnesota Fighting Saints.
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