Hottest FA Coach Finds New Home
It didn’t take long for former Anaheim Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau to find a new gig. It was announced late Saturday that Boudreau will be the new head coach of the Minnesota Wild.
Boudreau is coming off a somewhat successful tenure in Anaheim where he led them to unprecedented regular season success, but couldn’t lead them to the playoff success they had ultimately hoped to achieve. Hence the reason he became available in the first place.
Michael Russo said the term on Boudreau is four years and at $2.76 million per season. He replaces interim coach John Torchetti. Torchetti was 15-11-1 and led the Wild to the playoffs, where they lost in the first round to the Dallas Stars (ironically, the former Minnesota North Stars).
Boudreau also interviewed with the Ottawa Senators earlier this week. There was some thought that Ottawa could be his destination as he has family living in the area. The Calgary Flames, whose firing of Bob Hartley led many to believe they had a serious interest in Boudreau’s services, never interviewed him formally. So that leaves many wondering what they might have planned for their coaching search.
The Wild reportedly increased their bid for the coach after he visited the Senators.
Boudreau sports a career record of 409-192-80 in nine seasons as NHL head coach, split between the Anaheim Ducks and Washington Capitals. Eight of those seasons, he led his team to a division title. He is also the fastest coach in NHL history to reach 400 wins (done in 663 games) and leads active NHL coaches in win percentage. He has twice been nominated for the Jack Adams Award as NHL Coach of the year, finishing as a finalist in 2013-14 and winning the award with the Capitals in 2007-08.
The downfall of Boudreau is obviously his postseason record. He coached in the conference finals once (2014-15), but sports a very average 41-39 career record, including a very ugly 1-7 record in Game 7.
For the Wild, though, it makes sense why they make this move. Boudreau was the biggest name on the coaching market and he gets regular season results. The Wild have had up-and-down success in the regular season, though they have made the playoffs the last four seasons. Not only that, he has an offensive pedigree, something the Wild desperately need. From 2013-16, the Wild were No. 22 in goals per game at 2.60. Boudreau’s Ducks were No. 5 over that span at 2.87.
Of his available choices, the Wild makes the most sense for Boudreau. They are closer to contention in the short term than either Ottawa or Calgary and boast the most talent right now. With Zach Parise, Ryan Suter and Mikko Koivu in their early 30s and Charlie Coyle and Mikael Granlund in their mid 20s as well as an actual No. 1 goalie in Devan Dubnyk, the pieces appear to be in place at the very least.
Then again, the Wild have another problem on their hands: they have $63.8 million committed to 35 contracts next season. That means bringing in reinforcements for Boudreau will be an entirely different challenge.
But for now at least, this seems like the beginning of a quality partnership.