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Can Bruce Boudreau take advantage of the youth that Mike Yeo didn't trust?

Throughout Mike Yeo's tenure as Minnesota Wild head coach, it seemed like he had trust issues with the young players on his roster and in his system. Can Bruce Boudreau bridge the gap between veterans and youth in this Minnesota Wild organization?

Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Yeo had some faults that really resonated with Wild fans. He seemed stubborn. It seemed like, "this is my system, this is how I’m going to run my system, I know my system works…" blah, blah, blah, etc, etc, etc. Of course, every coach has a system, a belief in that system. But coaches also have to adapt their systems, or tweak them a little bit, based on their personnel, or roster strengths and weaknesses. I also believe that, at any level, you need a mix of veterans and youth. And you should trust your youth, because if you have coached them right, they should be as reliable as a veteran. But I feel like Mike Yeo had such little faith in his young guys, that they seemed to lose confidence, rendering them, at times, ineffective.

Now am I part of the Minnesota Wild team? No.  Am I a regular member in their locker room? No. Am I in coaches meetings about systems and strategy? No. But I have been a season ticket holder for 10 years, and I watch every game, I read the blogs, and listen to radio analysis and podcasts.  Again, does any of this make me an expert, NO WAY, but I try to be an informed fan. I got so tired of watching Justin Fontaine get chance after chance after chance.  He was unable to control the puck along the boards, he got pushed around out there like a Bantam A player, and yet there he was night after night, getting chance after chance to be unproductive.  Is he the future of your franchise?  No.  He’s not quite big enough, not quite fast enough, not quite strong enough.  Yet, you have Jason Zucker, crazy fast, possible sniper potential, and Erik Haula, game breaking speed, good defender.  Somehow these two, who in my opinion, will help the franchise for years to come, are in Mike Yeo’s dog house every other night.  I didn’t get it.

Another thing I didn’t get?  Mike Yeo’s power play, pure stubbornness, in my opinion.  Does Ryan Suter, or Ryan "the Wrister" as I like to call him, have any business anchoring a number one power play unit? No. Did Jason Pominville, after going through a horrendous goal scoring drought, deserve power play minutes? NO. You look at the power play units last year, and some of the most dangerous guys are sitting on the bench. Marco Scandella with his booming slap shot couldn’t buy power play minutes, but Pominville played the point for a while, are you kidding me?  It was maddening to watch, truly maddening.  It’s normal to have failures, it’s normal to go through rough patches where the puck doesn’t bounce your way, but his unwillingness to mix anything up drove me crazy, and I think, led to him getting fired.

When you play for a coach who is never going to make any changes, or mix things up, what do you have to play for?  Coaches have to keep players hungry.  And you keep them hungry by rewarding effort and production with opportunity.  If you get an opportunity and fail, then that’s on you and you may not get another opportunity.  But when you never get an opportunity, and you find yourself sitting on the bench watching others fail, how can you not get frustrated?  How can you not question loyalty to some and not to all?

I don’t want to see the same power play units trotted out game after game if they are in a scoring drought.  I don’t want to see Jason Pominville manning the point, when he struggles to even keep the puck in the zone.  Keep the veterans fighting to hold their spots and the youth fighting to take their spots.  I always felt like Mike Yeo worshiped the veterans, the money makers, and in turn, left the rookies out in the cold without any significant opportunity.

Enough of Kyle Brodziak, Chris Porter, Justin Fontaine, Ryan Carter, Jarret Stoll, David Jones, Jordan Schroeder, Sean Bergenheim, Matt Moulson and Stu Bickel.  My hope is that new coach Bruce Boudreau is an equal opportunity coach.  That he will switch things up when they become unproductive or stale.

Let’s see what Christoph Bertschy, Kurtis Gabriel, Zac Dalpe, Tyler Graovac, Alex Tuch and Joel Eriksson-Ek have to offer.  They are the future.  Our top lines are our top lines for a reason, but we need productive youth to build true longevity.  We need to stop inserting waiver wire pickups year after year.  If you know the type of players you need, and you draft well, you should be able to trust these players.  These players are the future.