The search for the Wild's fifth (or maybe fourth if John Torchetti keeps the gig) head coach has officially begun.
According to sources, Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher received permission and had his first phone conversation with recently fired Anaheim Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau over the weekend. In addition, Fletcher sat down with Torchetti today for the first time since the season ended.
Fletcher said last week that Torchetti was "definitely a very serious candidate."
Part of the reason for meeting with Torchetti, despite the obvious discussion about whether his vision for the future aligns with Fletcher's vision, was to deconstruct what happened with the team down the stretch as Fletcher begins the intel and analysis phase of the offseason.
But as much as Fletcher said last week he's in no rush to hire a coach, the timetable clearly was accelerated once Boudreau was fired Friday by the Ducks.
The last time Boudreau was unemployed, that lasted two days. And with the Wild and Ottawa Senators the only two current teams looking for coaches besides Anaheim, Fletcher had to get a move on it. Boudreau indicated to the Orange County Register's Eric Stephens today that he doesn't want to take a break and does hope to coach another team next season.
Per sources, Fletcher received that permission from GM Bob Murray and touched base with Boudreau, although a formal in-person interview has not yet taken place.
It is very likely that Ottawa, which has also interviewed Mike Yeo, has also sought and received permission as well.
“I’ve had a couple conversations,” Boudreau told the Orange County Register. “I can’t delve into it right now. Let’s put it this way, this is why my voice is so bad. I couldn’t talk at all Sunday. I’ve been on the phone all day Friday and Saturday. For 15 hours a day, it was pretty crazy."
Boudreau, like Yeo, has a year left on his contract (which is why permission must be granted).
Speaking of that, it's believed on that same phone call with Murray, Fletcher asked about the status of Ducks assistant coach Paul MacLean. I've been led to believe Fletcher has yet to receive permission to talk with MacLean. If that's true, it likely means MacLean, the former Senators head coach, is a candidate to replace Boudreau in Anaheim. That would make sense since MacLean was Murray's hire in the first place.
In addition, as I reported in my Boudreau piece in Saturday's paper here, sources told me that Fletcher did plan to contact Randy Carlyle. I don't know if that contact has been made yet with the former Ducks and Maple Leafs coach.
Both Boudreau and Carlyle live in southern California, so if Fletcher's planning a trip there, he could conceivably kill two birds with one stone, so to speak.