The Wild’s AHL affiliate moves from Houston to Des Moines next season and will have to be under the guidance of a new coach.
John Torchetti, the veteran benchboss who won a Stanley Cup as a Chicago Blackhawks assistant in 2010, will become the new head coach of CSKA Moscow in the Kontinental Hockey League. He signed a three-year deal.
"[Sergei] Fedorov is the GM and he's been great," Torchetti said. "He came over and talked to me and called me a lot. It's something new for me and will be a good challenge. They want to win and I'm looking forward to having a chance to win, too."
The Wild exercised Torchetti’s option for next season, but he had an out clause. Wild GM Chuck Fletcher said Torchetti was offered a “huge deal” to leave.
“We need a new head coach in Des Moines,” Fletcher said. “I’m hoping this week we can bump into a few people while in New York [for the draft]. Maybe we can talk to two or three people and the following week bring people in.
“I don’t want it to extend forever. It’s an opportunity. It’s going to be a pretty young team there, so the primary focus will be development.”
Iowa next season will have a number of young players turning pro, including Johan Gustafsson, Raphael Bussieres, Tyler Graovac and Erik Haula.
One candidate could be Kurt Kleinendorst. The Grand Rapids, Minn., native was runner-up to Mike Yeo when the Wild hired him three years ago and is close with Iowa Wild GM Jim Mill. Kleinendorst recently resigned from the University of Alabama-Huntsville.
Kleinendorst coached Binghamton to a Calder Cup championship three years ago over, ahem, Yeo’s Houston Aeros.
Torchetti's Houston Aeros went 75-51-26 in two seasons, making the playoffs in both years.
From Around the Web
More from Star Tribune
More from Russo's Rants
The South St. Paul native is the fourth-leading scorer among defensemen in NHL history.
Obviously, time will tell if the contract pans out, if the second half was a flash in the pan or the real Devan Dubnyk. The deal's structure is in line with many NHL goalie contracts.
After three days of heavy-duty negotiation, the Wild has agreed to terms with goaltender Devan Dubnyk on a six-year, $26 million deal, sources say. That's a $4.33 million cap hit, making Dubnyk the 21st-highest paid goaltender in the game.
The Wild hopes to re-sign both players to new contracts today.
A strong two-way player is added with the 20th overall pick.