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Yeo, Torchetti, and what comes next?

Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

It's been almost a month since the Wild fired Mike Yeo. John Torchetti has won some games, and he's lost some games (with a total of 12). So let's draw some conclusions! Let's get the caveats out of the way: Chet has had to deal with some injuries, and 12 games is not nearly enough to actually know things, but let's do it anyways.

This won't be super-numbers heavy, but particularly if we're going to compare Torchetti and Yeo, numbers can give us some hard-and-fast comparables. But let's begin with things that aren't measurable, per-se.

Chet seems to have clearly let the young guys off the leash. They are getting more power play time, and are being trusted with bigger roles. Or perhaps they simply know that they will be trusted with bigger roles if they perform, something which didn't seem to be the case under Yeo.

In addition, the whole team seems to have been told to not focus on defense as much. This isn't to say the team isn't defending as well, but they seem to be trying to focus more on attack than defense. While this hasn't always made for the prettiest games, the Wild have seemed to have an offensive explosion, scoring multiple goals in multiple games.

Strictly speaking, Torchetti is 8-4, for a win percentage of 75%, and a Points% of .667 (thanks to Hockey Reference for that math). Let's take a look at a few other numbers, and break down what they mean for what has happened, and what we might expect to happen moving forward. These stats are all at 5v5 and courtesy of the soon-to-be-defunct War on Ice.



Games Played



Goals For



Goals Against



Shooting %



Save %






High-Danger Scoring Chances %



Scoring Chances %



Corsi For %






Goals Against/60



Goals For %



The first two numbers I want to look at are the shooting and save percentages; both are higher under Torchetti. This results in a higher PDO, or measure of luck. As we can see- Mike Yeo wasn't exactly having a bad-luck year overall... it was merely a bad run in January and February that did him in. Some would say that was regression from a hot start. Regardless, it's irrelevant. Torchetti has had some fortunate bounces, bounces Yeo wasn't getting.

As we move to the next "category" on the chart, things get a little less rosy. Yeo was already having an iffy-at-best possession year, and Torchetti's Wild has performed worse. At 47.2 CF%, are very near the bottom of the league. The good news is the bleeding is somewhat superficial; the Wild are performing nearly as well under Torchetti as under Yeo in terms of High-Danger Scoring Chances. Don't be fooled by the .6, however; that is a difference of 3 chances.

The impression that the Wild are scoring more is definitely true: they are scoring a full half-goal per 60 5v5 minutes than under Yeo (half a goal doesn't seem like a lot, but it is). To boot, they are allowing fewer goals per hour than under Yeo. This is great news! Unfortunately, it is attributed to the raised sh% and sv% that we noted earlier.

In short: the Wild have definitely performed better under Torchetti than under Yeo; they are scoring more and conceding less. The possession numbers mean it wasn't always particularly pretty, but wins are wins.

The only concern that comes in is if you believe in the predictive ability of possession stats. If you do, you should be concerned for the long-term future of this Wild team. They are posting near-league-bottom numbers in terms of shot attempts - like Avalanche-esque. This bodes poorly for the team over the long term.

That last sentence is the key, however, the Wild don't have a "long term" to look forward to. They have 15 games left, and then (hopefully) the playoffs. In other words: if this were the beginning of the season, we could be concerned with good cause. Because there are so few games remaining, there's no reason the Wild cannot keep this Sh% and Sv% up.

The Wild made a coaching change at what may prove to be the perfect time, The "new-coach boost" has put the Wild in a great position to get on a run of good form and carry it into the postseason.


Note: This article was written based on data gathered on Wednesday, March 9, so Thursday's game data is not taken into account.