With the Wild's recent successes, the "Fire Yeo" crowd has been silent lately, however after a loss or two, I'm sure they'll be back. Back in December, Tony discussed if the Wild should look at replacing Mike Yeo after a lengthy slump by the Wild. My question at that time was, and still is, if Mike Yeo were fired, who are you going to replace him with? You have three options: promote from within, go with an unemployed coach or attempt to poach an assistant coach from another team.
So today, when things are actually looking up for the Wild, and there's less of a knee jerk reaction to Mike Yeo's existence, I'm going to take a realistic look at coaching options if Yeo were taken out of the picture.
Option 1: Promote from within:
Granted the Wild has never relieved a head coach of duties during the season before, the Wild has also never made a member of the currently existing Wild coaching staff head coach. Bob Mason is actually the only coach to carry over from the Jacques Lemaire era. New staff was brought in with Todd Richards, and they did stay with Mike Yeo. There's a possibility Rick Wilson could be named an interim coach, but I don't think he'd be in the long term plans. There is a possibility they could follow the same route as they did with Yeo, and hire Iowa Wild Coach Kurt Kleinendorst as head coach of the Minnesota Wild, however that leaves a coaching vacancy in Iowa. Kleinendorst does have assistant coaching experience in the NHL with the New Jersey Devils as well as head coaching experience at various levels.
Option 2: Go with an unemployed coach:
There are several former head coaches without jobs right now. Let's take a look at some of the possibilities for hires.
Peter Laviolette: Laviolette was let go three games into the 2013-2014 season after going 0-3. His career record is 389-282-25-63. He has two division championships, one Stanley cup and six playoff appearances. He has been a head coach for the Carolina Hurricanes and the Philadelphia Flyers. He coached the Men's US Olympic Team in 2006, although they did not place. This year, he was selected to be one of Dan Byslma's assistant coaches for the 2014 Men's Olympic Team.
Guy Boucher: Boucher was fired in March of 2013. His career record is 97-78-20. He made the playoffs his first season with the Lightning. Prior to becoming head coach of the Lightning, he was assistant and head coach in the QMJHL and the AHL, making it to the Memorial cup twice. He has also been an assistant coach on Canada's U-18 and U-20 ice hockey teams where he has won two gold medals.
Claude Noel: Noel was just let go by Winnipeg where he was replaced by Paul Maurice. He is 90-87-24 in his career. He coached in Columbus and Winnipeg, never making it to the playoffs. He was an interim coach in Columbus after they let go of Ken Hitchcock. He was head coach and assistant coach in the ECHL, AHL, and IHL, most recently serving, prior to Winnipeg, as head coach of the Manitoba Moose.
Ron Wilson: Wilson has been coaching since the 1990s. He began his head coaching career in 1993 with Anaheim in their inaugural season. He spent three years prior to that as an assistant coach for the Vancouver Canucks. Wilson's career record is 648-561-101-91. He has made it to the playoffs eight times, but has never won a cup. He has spent time with the Ducks, Capitals, Sharks, and Leafs. He is the seventh NHL coach to achieve 600 wins. Internationally, he has coached the United States at the 1996 IIHF World Championships (bronze), 1996 World Cup of Hockey, 1996 Winter Olympics, and the 2010 Winter Olympics (silver). Wilson was one of the first coaches to integrate technology into his coaching.
Brent Sutter: In April of 2012, Sutter and the Flames (a team run by his brother) came to a mutual agreement to end his association with the team, Sutter spent last year back with the Red Deer Rebels of the WHL, where he had coached previously to coaching in the NHL. He spent two years as head coach of the New Jersey Devils and three with the Calgary Flames. He made the playoffs twice with New Jersey. He has also spent 8 years as a head coach in the WHL with Red Deer where they have missed the playoffs once. He has international coaching experience with Canadian Juniors, winning gold in 2005 and 2006, and a championship in the 2007 Super Series.
Option 3: Poach an Assistant Coach
There are a few head coaches working as assistant coaches as well as a few assistant coaches with head coaching experience in other leagues. The Wild could always try to get permission to talk to an assistant coach on another team. Let's look at a few of those options.
Joe Sacco: Sacco is currently an assistant coach for the Buffalo Sabres. He was formerly head coach of the Colorado Avalanche. In his four years with the Avalanche, he went 130-134-30, with one playoff berth. He did not fare much better in the AHL with Lake Erie (60-79-21). In his first season as head coach of the Avalanche, however, he was named a Jack Adams finalist.
Tom Renney: Renney is currently working alongside Mike Babcock of the Detroit Red Wings. He was previously head coach of the Edmonton Oilers, the New York Rangers, and the Vancouver Canucks. His career record is 260-255-9-68 with 3 playoff appearances, all with New York. He coached Canada to a silver medal in the 1994 Olympics, gold at the 2004 Worlds, and silver at the 2005 Worlds.
Scott Arniel: Arniel has two seasons in the NHL as head coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets. During that time he went 45-60-18. He did fare better in the AHL with Manitoba and Chicago, going 218-136-42, and only missing the playoffs once. He has never made them in the NHL. He is presently an assistant to Alain Vigneault in New York.
Ulf Samuelsson: Samuelsson has experience as an assistant coach with the Hartford Wolf Pack and in the NHL with the Phoenix Coyotes and, presently, with the New York Rangers. From 2011-2013, he left the NHL to take over head coaching duties for the Swedish Club Modo.
Glen Gulutzan: Gulutzan is currently an assistant coach in Vancouver. He was previously head coach in Dallas for two seasons going 64-57-9, never seeing the playoffs. He coached in the ECHL and the AHL for eight years, missing the playoffs once during that time.
So, as you can see, there are options available. Are they better options than Mike Yeo? In my opinion, not really, and as for replacing mid season, probably not. But what do you think Wilderness?