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Did Yeo do enough to stick in Minnesota?

May 14, 2014, 12:29 PM EDT

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Now that his season is over, things will get very interesting for Wild head coach Mike Yeo.

Following Tuesday’s elimination loss in Chicago, discussions turned to Yeo’s future in Minnesota. His three-year deal is now up, and there are questions as to whether or not the Wild will bring him back for a fourth.

If the opinions of alternate captains Ryan Suter and Zach Parise are any indication, Yeo would return.

”I think he did a great job,” Suter said, per the Minnesota Star-Tribune. “I think we’re going to have a bright future with him.’’

“I think [all the coaches] did a good job,’’ Parise said. “We were prepared. We made adjustments when we needed to make adjustments, and we switched lines when we needed to.”

Yeo, the NHL’s youngest coach at age 40, came into this season with an uncertain future following last year’s lockout-shortened campaign. It was a decent season — the Wild made the postseason for the first time in five years — but hardly a banner one; Minnesota sort of backed into the playoffs as the eighth seed, and were quickly bounced out of the first round by the ‘Hawks. Given the big free agent and trade splashes made (Suter, Parise, Jason Pominville), it’s not like Yeo worked wonders… and it’s partly why he went into ’13-14 with no assurances of a new deal.

So, did he earn one? The short answer is yes but, for the sake of discussion, let’s explore.

Minnesota finished with 43 wins this year, third-most in franchise history, and 98 points in the ultra-competitive Central Division, which featured the NHL’s third (Colorado), fourth (St. Louis) and seventh (Chicago) place teams. The Wild also won a playoff round for the first time in 11 years — dispatching of the Avs in seven games — and showed great resilience against Chicago in Round 2, rebounding from an 0-2 deficit to make the series quite competitive.

Yeo did all this despite tremendous uncertainty in goal all season long, using four different starters while losing the services Josh Harding after he played at a Vezina-calibre level to start the year. Yeo also kept the team afloat as injuries sidelined Parise, Mikko Koivu and Mikael Granlund for a combined 51 games.

All that said, there remains no definitive word from the Minnesota front office about keeping Yeo, and such uncertainty has to be worrisome. Other NHL coaches were extended despite achieving less this season — Randy Carlyle in Toronto, Ken Hitchcock in St. Louis, Paul Maurice in Winnipeg — so one has to wonder if there’s a reason the Wild haven’t done the same with Yeo.

  1. clarke16 - May 14, 2014 at 12:36 PM

    Duh?

    • clarke16 - May 14, 2014 at 12:39 PM

      Spankin’ new three year deal for the whole staff. No brainer. It isn’t even within the realm of debate for anyone who understands hockey.

      • avscup - May 14, 2014 at 12:56 PM

        I agree fully. Most underrated team in the playoffs and Yeo did an effective job of making adjustments.

        “quickly bounced out of the first round by the ‘Hawks.” This is the worst reporting possible. Quickly? 6 games in the 2nd round? Sorry Mike Halford, you should delete this sentence quickly!

      • Mike Halford - May 14, 2014 at 1:19 PM

        Yeah, I blew that one.

      • avscup - May 14, 2014 at 1:59 PM

        No worries Mike. It sure was a great series.

      • Mike Halford - May 14, 2014 at 2:01 PM

        uh, i was being sarcastic. you’ll need to re-read the graph.

      • hockey412 - May 14, 2014 at 1:04 PM

        Avscup, you might want to re-read that paragraph…

      • parasolmonster - May 14, 2014 at 1:05 PM

        Sorry avscup, you should delete your account quickly!

      • 950003cups - May 14, 2014 at 1:39 PM

        With the talent stacked in Minnesota, its a no brainer. Yeo can’t cut it.

        Parise, Koivu, Suter, Heatley, Moulson, and Pominville are more than enough to just squeeze in the playoffs as a wild card. Those are just the players in their prime years. That’s NOT counting the talented young up and coming players like, Granlund, Coyle, Niederreiter, and Brodin.

        When he had an average roster, Wild were bad. If you disagree, fine. But most coaches would be thrilled for a roster like that.

        Just think about having a Daryl Sutter type of coach with that roster.

      • avscup - May 14, 2014 at 2:06 PM

        OK, my bad. Reread. You were talking about backing in last year. I guess that threw me as the wild backed in again this year. They sure do a lot of backing in and out in MN!

      • clarke16 - May 14, 2014 at 2:19 PM

        950003cups–You kinda dumb-dumb, no? You kinda dumb-dumb who no understand hockey–just think he understand hockey. Very, very funny–fan who no know hockey but think he do look like ass-hat with no brim. Here–have eggroll. Maybe make you smarter. :)

      • lbeezyse - May 14, 2014 at 2:26 PM

        Wrong again Avscup. The Wild did not back in again this year. Look at their last 10-15 game played and you’ll see they won more than lost and best some of the best in the league. Double fail.

      • 950003cups - May 14, 2014 at 3:11 PM

        clarke16

        Not only did you not offer a single answer. But at the same time you exposed yourself as a complete moron. Then managed to poke fun at hardworking Asians. Go back to the rock you crawled from under.

        Are your biological parents also your aunt and uncle?

      • clarke16 - May 14, 2014 at 3:39 PM

        LOL. “Rock crawled under?” “Aunt, Uncle parents?” That very original. I be right. You kinda dumb dumb. Uptight and butt-hurt about minority, too. You make smile. Have another eggroll. Free. Free. :)

    • getadealdonealready - May 14, 2014 at 3:04 PM

      Yeo belongs, and this franchise is heading in the right direction, getadealdonealready………sorry just had to say it.

      This roster has talent and young kids who can help on the way in the next couple years, so at first glance you may be surprised that they only made playoffs as a wild card, but when you consider dressing 7 different goalies, and playing 5 different goalies, where 4 different goalies were counted on for stretches of the season, and the team hardly skipped a beat through all that. You add in being with out both Koivu and ZP for over a month each this team did very well.

      What I appreciate most about coach Yeo is the level headed approach, nothing seemed to phase him, and that is the perfect match for the team they have constructed. He had an articulate way of putting things and I liked he was honest and up front with media/fans both in good times and bad of the season.

      I would be very disappointed if they didn’t get a 3 year contract done very soon!

  2. pirovash88 - May 14, 2014 at 12:38 PM

    Yeo has done just fine withe Minnesota. I don’t see why this guys job should be on the line. He got them back in the playoffs after 5 post seasons with no appearance and took them to the 2nd round this year. His goal tending situation wasn’t the best either. There’s no way this Team wins a Cup on the 2nd year of making the Playoffs, period.

    • miketoasty - May 14, 2014 at 12:45 PM

      Not to mention the fact that in the first round they went up against the heavily favored Avalanche and were able to take them down without home ice.

      • lordfletcher - May 14, 2014 at 4:44 PM

        Yeo is going no where.

        If you beleive Fletcher (not me, GM Chuck) he said last week in an interview his job was never in jeopardy. Even when media outlets were reporting that during the Buffalo game, if the Wild would have lost, Yeo’s head would have gone with the season.

        I beleive in all staff – coaching, management and ownership. This club has come a long ways in 3 years.

        Imagine a team with nothing for prospects and draft picks quickly being turned around to a Stanley Cup competing team in 40 months with plenty of young guys still to come. Enough said. extensions for all.

  3. nicofthenorthstar - May 14, 2014 at 12:40 PM

    He will get an extension. It’s kind of silly to even act like it’s a question at this point.

  4. strictlythedanks - May 14, 2014 at 12:43 PM

    Yeo fo sho will be back yo

  5. imnotyourbuddyguy - May 14, 2014 at 12:45 PM

    Yes, next question

  6. wildfan247 - May 14, 2014 at 12:46 PM

    “Despite having 43 win” I think he earned an extension.

  7. hockeyornothing - May 14, 2014 at 12:52 PM

    I’m a Hawks fan and from what I saw Yeo do absolutely deserves an extension. What’s the question mark?

  8. dboldave - May 14, 2014 at 1:01 PM

    Bryz did better than I expected in this series but you have to wonder what could have been if they had a better goalie in net. I am not saying that is enough to beat Chicago but you have to consider the job Yeo did with their fourth goalie. I’d say you’ll see him behind the bench for a few years!

    • McFaddensPulledHammy - May 14, 2014 at 1:29 PM

      Better goalie? The Wild didn’t score enough. Here’s the scores of the games:

      5-2 Hawks 1 empty netter
      4-1 Hawks 1 empty netter
      4-0 Wild 1 empty netter
      4-2 Wild 1 empty netter
      2-1 Hawks
      2-1 Hawks

      In the last 4 games of the series, the Wild held the Hawks 6 goals. I don’t think defense was the issue.

      • clarke16 - May 14, 2014 at 2:20 PM

        Exactly…

      • strictlythedanks - May 14, 2014 at 2:26 PM

        Agreed, but speaking of De I think adding 1 more top 4 d man would be smart for the wild and hopefully keep Suter more rested

      • lbeezyse - May 14, 2014 at 2:29 PM

        Thus all the lust around here for Vanek. I for one don’t think we need him.

      • lbeezyse - May 14, 2014 at 2:30 PM

        I agree with Danks. I would rather see a stud physical hard nosed D-man brought in instead of another high priced forward.

      • clarke16 - May 14, 2014 at 2:36 PM

        That’s who they should trade Koivu for. Letang is a righty and may be on the market…just signed a big$$$ contract, though…but at about the same $$$ as Koivu’s ridiculous contract…

  9. kosmokenny - May 14, 2014 at 1:08 PM

    This team was incredibly top heavy at the start of the year with a bunch of really expensive vets, and then a bunch of guys with no experience that nobody knew what the would get. Looking at the growth that guys like El Nino, Haula, Granlund, and Kuemper have shown under Yeo makes this team even scarier going into next year. Get the goalie mess settled, and this team is a strong contender with or without adding Vanek.

  10. McFaddensPulledHammy - May 14, 2014 at 1:15 PM

    If he’s not retained, I would shocked if Pittsburgh didn’t jump all over him.

    When firing/not retaining your head coach, you better have a plan on who you think is better than what you have. Who would that be right now? Barry Trotz? Torts? Bylsma?

    I think he’s got the Wild going in the right direction and would be a mistake to let him go now.

    • McFaddensPulledHammy - May 14, 2014 at 1:30 PM

      “be shocked”

  11. chicagobtech - May 14, 2014 at 1:31 PM

    As a Blackhawks fan? No.
    As a hockey fan? OhYeah.

  12. bruinpred - May 14, 2014 at 1:36 PM

    Yeo did a good job. They also will buy Vanek this summer and are probably in the market to purchase a new captain so the future will be bright for the team. He deserves to stay.

  13. victoreviking - May 14, 2014 at 1:45 PM

    “the Wild made the postseason for the first time in five years”
    —–>YEO led them to the playoff last year too…do your homework before writing an article.

    • Mike Halford - May 14, 2014 at 1:49 PM

      you’re kidding, right?

      • strictlythedanks - May 14, 2014 at 2:28 PM

        Theres more skimmers than readers on here today apparently.

  14. victoreviking - May 14, 2014 at 1:59 PM

    Very serious.

    • Mike Halford - May 14, 2014 at 2:00 PM

      you’re gonna need to re-read that graph, then. and the ones following it.

    • strictlythedanks - May 14, 2014 at 2:29 PM

      hes super, duper cereal

  15. victoreviking - May 14, 2014 at 2:00 PM

    yes i am kidding. i see your context, just trying to get a rise out of some rubes.

    • Mike Halford - May 14, 2014 at 2:06 PM

      ahhhh. well then. well played. /slow clap

    • clarke16 - May 14, 2014 at 2:30 PM

      Slapd!ck code-speak for: I finally re-read it and discovered, once again, why I was one of the lucky one’s with a season pass on the short bus. Rather than man-up and admit my mistake–I’ll just pretend I was kidding under the pretense of getting a *rise out of the rubes* when, indeed, I just demonstrated who the Kingfisher rube really is… ;)

  16. victoreviking - May 14, 2014 at 2:02 PM

    no need to re-read.

  17. purpleguy - May 14, 2014 at 2:06 PM

    Yeah, he deserves an extension. Was an entertaining year, up until the last second of the game last night.

  18. victoreviking - May 14, 2014 at 2:08 PM

    Can he coach the T-puppies too?

  19. 2qswing - May 14, 2014 at 2:14 PM

    The owners checkbook led them to the playoffs.

    • lbeezyse - May 14, 2014 at 2:33 PM

      By spending roughly the same amount as every other team? You know this is hockey, that has a hard salary cap and not the NBA of MLB?

    • clarke16 - May 14, 2014 at 3:00 PM

      Yes, I can see how it might seem that way to people like you, Flex… :)

  20. credible316 - May 14, 2014 at 2:18 PM

    While I would love to see Trotz on our bench, I think Yeo did enough to save his job.
    We still haven’t seen a great regular season out of him tho.

    Time for Fletcher to work his magic and pull some more rabbits out of the hat.

    GO WILD!

  21. getadealdonealready - May 14, 2014 at 2:56 PM

    Side note – report just came out that Coyle played with 2 separated shoulders, what does that say about Moulson if you can’t beat out a guy with no arms (for the most part)! I was expecting more from MM and Pominville during these playoffs.

    • clarke16 - May 14, 2014 at 3:13 PM

      Huh? Well, then–that explains it… Coyle has looked very tenative and rarely was in on the play in the past 2 games–very unlike his play since Yeo railed him…

      Pominville was held in check more than I’d like to see certainly from a goal scoring standpoint–but there was no one close to him on the team throughout the playoffs who set up more legit scoring chances…

      Koivu obviously didn’t deliver mostly throughout the playoffs and, outside of a couple of games–both Parise and Suter played tired. Parise just did absolutely nothing in that game last night. None of his usual juice on the forecheck–seemed more content to turn back to the bench. He just looked spent. Heatley’s recent shine was nowhere to be seen last night either…

      This really was a team who looked like they had taken the journey as far as they were capable last night. No knock. You build from one season to the next.

      • getadealdonealready - May 14, 2014 at 3:25 PM

        Koivu takes a lot of heat, I understand it as he is played as a #1 center, but even when he seems off he is pretty sound defensively and on PK. He was matched up for about 85-90% of last nights game on Toews line, and I felt while it wasn’t pretty at times he did a decent job of keeping them off the board. In reality though he is probably best as a #2 or even #3 center on a defensive line.

        It will be interesting to see what changes we make with the Heatley money freed up, and I know people are wanting a big sturdy D, but I think Frolin has a chance to be that guy, it will be interesting to see what Wild Brass think.

      • clarke16 - May 14, 2014 at 3:56 PM

        I agree, getadeal, that Koivu’s best role would probably be 3rd line center–but heresthedeal… (sorry) ;) First–he’s making WAY too much money to tie up in a checking-line centerman. Second. He’s obviously now wearing the *C* It’s very, very hard to strip the *C* and retain that player long-term on your team…especially if you demote him based on his play to the checking line…

        Fletcher really has every reason to trade Mikko now–while he can still generate something of value in return and while other teams may not find his contract so unjustifiable in his play… One more year will be too late–and they’ll face being saddled with a compliance buy-out. The time is prime.

      • getadealdonealready - May 14, 2014 at 4:20 PM

        Clarke – we see this the same, I do think it’s worth it to explore trade options. The potential danger I see is this team seems to have a good locker room right now, and Mikko is a big part of that. While I think it’s prudent to explore, I wouldn’t just take any deal, and want to be careful as too much tinkering can kill the whole team chemistry.

        Basically Koivu, Coyle, Nino line was the 3rd line last night, as the Haula line played like our #1 and generated a good number of our scoring chances.

        I do see what you are saying and it’s a potentially sticky situation. My other note of caution (and I love Haula, have since he was a gopher), is his season repeatable? He looked good in every situation he was put in however, if he becomes a legit top 2 center, with top 2 expectations night in night out is he ready to handle that load? That is a lot to ask of two very young guys in Granlund and Haula, and notice we are not even talking about Granlunds injury history………that add’s a whole new layer to the conversation.

    • clarke16 - May 14, 2014 at 10:40 PM

      Word is finally starting to come out on injuries… Apparently not only Coyle but Moulson really was playing hurt along with Pommer, Suter and Prosser…

  22. guitarhunterdude - May 14, 2014 at 3:22 PM

    I wasn’t impressed with him at all during the regular season, but he really got the best out of our guys once we got healthy late in the season and during the playoffs. I’d like to see someone other than Brunette running the power play, though, and special teams as a whole really needs some work.

    • getadealdonealready - May 14, 2014 at 3:29 PM

      That is a fair statement, and I think he is still learning, and seems to be getting better with more experience.

      I agree about the PP, but wonder how much of that is because the # of Left-handed top end players we have. Also our top end forwards are all on the smaller side so you have to run more of a finesse PP rather that the crash and bang style that seems to be a little more effective late in the year.

      • clarke16 - May 14, 2014 at 4:06 PM

        It’s patently ridiculous the perimeter passing exercises they go through on that PP–and it’s been an ongoing issue. You don’t score on 100% of the shots you don’t take and last night–elimination game–sh!t–it should have been an f-ing chinese fire drill out there blasting away and crashing the net. Instead, once again it looked like passing drills at Bantam hockey camp. Unforgivable to throw away the man-ad like they did so often in this series. The PP was really the only way they were going to win.

      • clarke16 - May 14, 2014 at 9:39 PM

        You know how to start to open some shooting lanes? SHOOT! You take one off the inside of your foot and you aren’t so proud anymore about getting completely into that lane and taking the next one. Maybe it’s the next guy’s turn–and he’s thinking the same thing about you…

        Right near the bottom of the league in SOG last year. That has to be a huge priority to fix and that starts with the PP…

  23. guitarisgood4u - May 14, 2014 at 3:35 PM

    FOUR MORE YEARS!

    FOUR MORE YEARS!

    FOUR MORE YEARS!

  24. hosewater2 - May 14, 2014 at 3:49 PM

    Get him a new deal, get the team a new nickname.

    • guitarisgood4u - May 14, 2014 at 4:05 PM

      I think they showed this postseason that they’re not so ‘Mild’ after all.

      I would still say they outplayed Chicago for the vast majority of this series, as well as the Avs.

  25. fightingwild - May 14, 2014 at 4:16 PM

    I like Yeo, honestly he seems like a good guy & a good coach. My only problem with him is rigidness & refusal to bench Heatley during the regular season. I understand standing by your players but Heatley consistently cost the Wild victories. I honestly see Granlund as the New #1 next year & Haula as the #2 & Koivu as the Shutdown Center. Haula proved when Granlund went down that he was a top 6 forward. I believe for Yeo to retain his job he needs to be more flexible with his lines. I hope he learned that lesson.

  26. classicfinder - May 14, 2014 at 4:51 PM

    Yeo 11 yeo. Always bet on yourself.

  27. nicofthenorthstar - May 14, 2014 at 5:06 PM

    Lordfletch, you hit the nail on the head there guy. Fletcher has worked wonders when you consider the mess he walked into here. The cupboard was bare and there was no help on the way. He turned that into a dynamic young team with depth in the big club as well as the minors.
    As far as Yeo is concerned, Fletcher chose a young coach to grow with the young roster he was building. He has grown and did some really good work this year, especially in the playoffs.
    At the beginning of the year, the general view was that this year was another growth year and that next year is when our expectations should really start rising. This team accomplished a lot, perhaps more than just about anyone expected when you consider the playoff run. Very valuable experience for everybody. The kids will carry this team in coming years.

  28. zraskovich - May 14, 2014 at 8:05 PM

    No doubt Yeo’s back….the entire staff was on their final year and I’m sure they’ll all be asked to stick around 3 more. Their ’15 roster is short another solid D man more so than another scoring fwd, IMO. Of course there’s that pesky goalie situation…

    • clarke16 - May 14, 2014 at 9:31 PM

      If they want to contend for a cup while this window is open–they’re going to require BOTH. Just no way around it…

  29. agc99 - May 14, 2014 at 10:48 PM

    Pittsburgh would take Yeo in a second.

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