--According to sources, the Wild is close to hiring Pittsburgh Penguins assistant coach Mike Yeo as head coach of the Houston Aeros, the team’s American Hockey League affiliate.
Yeo, a former Penguins prospect, was captain of the Aeros when they won the IHL’s Turner Cup championship in 1999.
After a career-ending knee injury at age 26, Yeo, now 36, became an assistant coach with the Wilkes-Barre Penguins. In 2005, he was promoted to Pittsburgh to become Michel Therrien’s assistant. He’s remained there ever since, helping coach the Penguins to the Stanley Cup in 2009 alongside head coach Dan Bylsma.
His primary responsibilities in Pittsburgh were coaching the defensemen and power play.
The Wild underwent a wide-ranging coaching search the past several weeks. Yeo was one of more than 80 coaches who expressed interest in the Aeros. He’s known Aeros GM Jim Mill for years, worked with Wild GM Chuck Fletcher in Pittsburgh and has a similar coaching style and philosophy when it comes to the way the game should be played as Wild coach Todd Richards.
Yeo will replace Kevin Constantine, who was let go in Houston after this past season. …
--The Wild also plans to hire a director of player development by the end of the month. The goal is to create a seamless pipeline between the Wild’s prospects and the NHL team. The director of player development will spend roughly a week a month in Houston and one to two weeks a month working with draft picks who are playing junior hockey or in college.
Basically, he’ll be the point of contact between the prospects and the organization. Duane Sutter did this in Florida, Tom Fitzgerald in Pittsburgh when Fletcher was in both cities, so you can bet the Wild's new director of player development will be a former player. …
--The Aeros coaching staff and new director of player development will run the prospect development camp at Xcel Energy Center from July 12-19. …
--Also, the Wild has offered two-year contract extensions to television announcers Dan Terhaar and Mike Greenlay and radio announcers Bob Kurtz and Tom Reid. All four should be signed by the end of the week, Wild VP of Communications and broadcasting Bill Robertson said.
There will be a number of Wild articles coming up in the paper leading into next weekend's NHL Entry draft in L.A.