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Yeo’s extension in Minnesota might prove tricky

May 27, 2014, 3:16 PM EDT

mikeyeogetty Getty Images

Interesting stuff here from the Star-Tribune about contract negotiations between the Wild and head coach Mike Yeo:

Yeo, whose last contract paid him approximately $600,000 in the final year of his deal, is likely looking to double his salary. After the initial meeting [last week with GM Chuck Fletcher], Yeo left for a fishing trip and is scheduled to return Wednesday.

The two sides weren’t expected to talk during his trip, so talks should continue once he returns. Like I reported May 15-17, this was bound to take a little time.

When Yeo took the job right out of Houston in 2011, there was basically no negotiation. He has since guided the Wild into the playoffs in two consecutive years of a three-year deal and guided the Wild into the second round of the playoffs for the first time since 2003. So, this contract would require an actual negotiation, and frankly, that’s the position the Wild put itself in by not giving Yeo a one-year contract extension last summer.

Given he was in the final year of his deal, it’s clear the organization took a wait-and-see approach in the playoffs before committing to an extension.

All Yeo did was raise his stock.

Despite going in as a wild card qualifier, the Wild impressed this postseason — beating Central Division champs Colorado in Round 1 before pushing the ‘Hawks to OT of Game 6 in Round 2 — and, suddenly, Yeo went from being a “guy on the fence” to a “guy the organization couldn’t lose.”

Fletcher said as much in his year-end presser, saying “Mike’s the coach of our team” and thereby giving Yeo some significant leverage in negotiations.

So, how will said leverage come into play? Consider the following:

— Yeo’s still one of the best young coaches going, even though he’s had the Wild job for three seasons. He remains the NHL’s youngest bench boss at 40, with the next oldest being 43-year-old Dan Bylsma.

— Oh yeah, Bylsma! That’s a name worth mentioning. He could very well be shown the door in Pittsburgh following Ray Shero’s dismissal and that could be a huge development for Yeo, who spent 10 years in the Pittsburgh organization (including four as an assistant coach) prior to joining the Wild’s AHL affiliate in Houston.

— How much money does Yeo want? That could be an x-factor, especially since Wild owner Craig Leopold has made no secret about how deep his pockets are, or how much he’s willing to spend to build a winner.

Of course, Minnesota has some leverage too. Yeo and his staff are under contract until June 30 so, even if he was interested in exploring other options (Vancouver, Florida and Carolina still have vacancies, remember) he’d need the club’s permission to speak with other teams.

So the signs really do point to Yeo heading back to Minnesota. It just might not happen all that quickly.

  1. storminator16 - May 27, 2014 at 3:38 PM

    Where are all the folks saying the deal was close to being done? All signs actually showed it wasn’t. Yeo has all the leverage here and can drag this out for a little while longer. Its time to get paid, by the Wild or not.

    • lbeezyse - May 27, 2014 at 4:24 PM

      I’d like to think Yeo & Fletcher both want to get this deal done asap, so they can focus on gearing up for next year. I fully expect the whole staff to remain intact with maybe a few little tweaks. He isn’t going to that gong show that is Pitt. He is a young upcoming coach of a young upcoming team with immense young/veteran talent. Not sure why he would want to leave that?

      • storminator16 - May 27, 2014 at 4:29 PM


    • clarke16 - May 27, 2014 at 4:31 PM

      …as he should. Whatever the number is…and however much more that number is than what it would have been last year at this time–that’s the price the team pays by letting the guy hang with no commitment…

      I’d hold out for $1.5M/$1.75M/$2M on a 3 year deal if I were Yeo…

  2. lbeezyse - May 27, 2014 at 4:25 PM

    It’s going to come down to $’s. $1-1.5mil per on a 3 yr deal I bet.

    • purpleguy - May 27, 2014 at 4:34 PM

      No worries — word has it $1.2M/yr for 3 years.

  3. 950003cups - May 27, 2014 at 4:34 PM

    Yeo isn’t gonna coach his way to a Stanley cup anytime soon. He had, basically what some would call an All-Star team and couldn’t do it two years in a row. The talent alone can get in to the playoffs. It’s the coaching that needs to be sharp in postseason. When other teams start adjusting to your style, you have to counter. Yeo should be let go for the betterment of the organization. The Wild have a three year window to win. After that, all their talent will be getting older and their contracts will be impossible to unload.

    • purpleguy - May 27, 2014 at 4:39 PM

      By all experts accounts, he outcoached Roy and was even with Q — all with 9 players under age 24 and Dany Heatley’s corpse. The MN talent has hardly started shaving. Seems like you’re looking in the wrong window here.

      • 19to77 - May 27, 2014 at 5:02 PM

        Ha! Great post. “Dany Heatley’s corpse” got one hell of a laugh out of me.

    • clarke16 - May 27, 2014 at 5:45 PM

      You still kinda dumb dumb… Free egg roll no help. You leave lobby now. Pollute air too long.

  4. lbeezyse - May 27, 2014 at 4:51 PM

    All-star team? What Wild team are you watching. The Wild is made up of Suter, Parise=two all-stars. Koivu, Pommer, & Cooke=not all-stars, but very solid players. A bunch of youngsters in their first 1-2 full season in Granny, Brodin, Coyle, Nino, Fontaine, Haula, Scandella, Folin, and Kuemper. Hardly an all-star team. There is great leadership in place from those who wear letters on their jersey’s and almost the entire roster will remain intact for next year and beyond. It’s silly to say there is only a 3 year window when most of the contributing players are no more than 22 years old. The Wild also have another crop of youngsters turning pro next year in Iowa. The pipeline is full and flowing the right direction.

    The Wild could very easily be where the Hawks are right now had a few bounces gone their way and had Craw shown he is mortal as he has against LA. This was a learning year this year & I’m sure management expects the real fun to start next year and beyond. The Wild have a lot of cap space to play with where they could add a piece or two which I think is unnecessary. Get the youngsters resigned and roll with what we got.

    • clarke16 - May 27, 2014 at 6:02 PM

      Parise is a very good, high energy blue-collar type garbage-goal player…Borderline all-star. Pommer is much more of a vision player…a playmaker who elevates the game of those around him. I consider him a more valuable asset overall. He’s clearly the model of what Fletch/Yeo are building this team around and either he or Suter will wear the next C. Koivu is on the decline and no longer the right player at the right time for this team. His excessive contract should be reallocated to re-tooled assets more befitting of the present needs and evolution of the team. Suter is a legit all-star, but faded mightily down the stretch–probably due to his excessive minutes throughout the season/olympics. They need to bring in a legit top 4 D-man to bring those minutes down next season… Finally–this team REQUIRES another legit goal-scorer of a PLAYMAKER variety. Not necessarily another Parise or Moulson or even Vanek. They have enough of the guys who can stand in front of the net and pot the puck that someone else sets up or shoots that produces the rebound… They need another Pommer type who INITIATES the opportunities. This team will go no further until it brings up both it’s shot and goal totals… They’ve impressively milked about all they can from a defensive posture–routinely holding the league’s elite to ~20 shots/game. They go to bona-fide cup contender with another legit goal scorer and D-man…

  5. 19to77 - May 27, 2014 at 5:09 PM

    I doubt Yeo’s thinking about leaving Minnesota, even for his former team in Pittsburgh. The Wild are a team on the rise and will likely only continue to improve given their exceptional youth movement. If I were him, I’d be pushing for a hefty pay raise (he’s certainly earned it), but no doubt my goal would be to stick with the team. It’s a great fit for both sides, and I’m sure Fletcher, Leopold and Yeo all recognize that.

  6. pdmjr - May 27, 2014 at 5:21 PM

    Pittsburgh has about 2 million per year to give him, but they need to hire a GM to hire Yeo first.

  7. hockeyornothing - May 27, 2014 at 5:36 PM

    Pay the man

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