When we look back at the 2019-20 National Hockey League season, we are going to remember it as the year of the coaching change. You can officially add Bruce Boudreau to the list of coaches who have either been fired or resign since the puck dropped on the regular season.
Wild Ready to Move Forward
Minnesota Wild general manager Bill Guerin announced on Friday morning that Boudreau has been relieved of his duties. He named assistant coach Dean Evason interim head coach as he will take over for the rest of the season.
Evanson began his coaching career in 1999 and spent six seasons as a head coach in the Western Hockey League. He got his first taste of the NHL in 2005 by serving as an assistant coach with the Washington Capitals. Five of his seven seasons in Washington were spent working under Boudreau.
From there, Evanson spent six seasons at the head coach of the Milwaukee Admirals in the American Hockey League. He made the Calder Cup playoffs in four of those seasons but never got out of the first round. He’s been an assistant for Boudreau and the Wild since the start of the 2018-19 season.
Boudreau Joins a Crowded Free Agent Class
If you are an NHL general manager looking for a veteran head coach this summer, then you will have quite the list to choose from. Boudreau is the eighth coach to be replaced in-season and if he wants another job, he will have some suitors.
Boudreau has won 567 regular-season games in stints with the Capitals, Anaheim Ducks and Wild. He has been known for having great regular seasons, but having some difficulty making deep playoff runs.
He won the Jack Adams Award for being the top coach in the league following his first season behind the Capitals bench. After leading the Capitals to a Southeast Division crown, they were ousted by the Philadelphia Flyers in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. In fact, Boudreau won the division in every season with the Capitals but never got out of the second round.
After missing the playoffs in his first season with the Ducks, he won three straight Pacific Division titles as was one win away from the Stanley Cup Final in 2013.
His time in Minnesota has not gone as hoped when he was first hired in 2016. After two first-round exits, Minnesota missed the playoffs last season and are currently three points out of playoff spot. Not all of the shortcomings can be blamed on Boudreau as he has had to deal with an aging roster and working with three different general managers.
There will be some big-time names looking for jobs this summer. Boudreau joins the likes of Mike Babcock, Peter Laviolette and Gerard Gallant of proven coaches who are out of work.
This will be Guerin’s first hire as an NHL general manager. It will be interesting to see if he wants to bring in an established coach or give an up-and-coming coach his first crack while he rebuilds his roster from the ground up.