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Minnesota Wild fire head coach Bruce Boudreau

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Didn’t see this one coming.

Vegas Golden Knights v Minnesota Wild Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images

After a deflating 4-3 overtime loss to the New York Rangers on Thursday, Minnesota Wild general manager Bill Guerin decided to make a significant change. Head coach Bruce Boudreau has been fired.

The Wild confirmed Boudreau’s firing shortly after reports began to surface on Twitter.

According to Michael Russo of The Athletic, assistant coach Dean Evason will be named interim coach for the remainder of the season.

This was the final year of Boudreau’s contract, so many believed the 65-year-old head coach would play out the season before venturing elsewhere over the summer. However, Bill Guerin made it clear that more changes could be coming after the trade that sent Jason Zucker to the Pittsburgh Penguins. And this certainly qualifies as one heck of a change.

What’s interesting about Boudreau’s firing is the timing of it. Minnesota’s 27-23-7 record isn’t anything to brag about, but the Wild are still only three points out of a playoff spot. Guerin said in a press conference on Tuesday that he “wholeheartedly” expects this team to compete for a playoff spot, and it wasn’t all that long ago that Guerin seemed to give Boudreau a vote of confidence.

“He’s our coach,” Guerin said in November. “I have a ton of respect for him and what he’s done in his career and what he’s doing right now and how we’re working together, I really like it. Just like the players, we’ll see where we are. But as of right now, everything is going really, really well with Bruce and I. I like Bruce.”

Boudreau spent nearly four full seasons as Minnesota’s head coach. In 303 games coached, Boudreau finished with a record of 158-110-35. He guided the Wild to the playoffs in his first two seasons as the team’s head coach (Minnesota was eliminated in the first round in both appearances), but failed to qualify for the postseason in 2018-19.

If Boudreau’s firing indicates anything, it’s that more changes are coming. Possibly a lot of them. The NHL trade deadline is less than two weeks away, and several Wild players seem like legitimate candidates to be moved, including Matt Dumba (who the Maple Leafs are reportedly looking into), Jonas Brodin and Marcus Foligno.

Buckle your seatbelts, folks. Things are about to get very interesting.