One day after hiring an assistant coach he has no previous history with, Bruce Boudreau is leaning on one of his closest friends as his second assistant.
John Anderson, the longtime minor-league coach and former coach of the Atlanta Thrashers, will run the Wild's power play.
The former right wing was a solid scorer at the minor-league and NHL levels, notching 282 goals and 631 points in 814 games with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Quebec Nordiques and Hartford Whalers from 1977-89.
Anderson, 59, and Boudreau were teammates on the Toronto Marlboros (1973-75), Dallas Blackhawks (1977-78), Toronto Maple Leafs (1977-83) and Fort Wayne Komets (1990-91).
"When you're hiring a guy that’s a close friend, you do your due diligence," Boudreau said. "I talked to a lot of people just to be sure this was the right fit and I came away really strong that him on one side and Scott Stevens on the other and Darby [Hendrickson] upstairs, that we'll have a very good group together."
Anderson just last week left his second stint as coach of the Chicago Wolves. Boudreau said that happened prior to him getting involved.
Prior to that, Anderson was an assistant coach for two seasons with the Phoenix Coyotes after being head coach of the Thrashers from 2008-10.
The Toronto native went 624-368-124 (.614) in 14 seasons as the Wolves head coach (1997-2008, 2013-16), leading Chicago to four championships; the 2008 and 2002 Calder Cup and the 2000 and 1998 Turner Cup. Prior to joining the Wolves, Anderson captured the Colonial Cup as Head Coach of the Quad City Mallards of the Colonial Hockey League in 1996-97. He began his coaching career with Winston-Salem in 1995-96, leading the Mammoths to the Southern Hockey League Finals.
"We’ve lived together, we’ve played together and we ran our own golf tournament together," Boudreau said. "I know the man inside out. Not that it's gotten heated, but we've had frank discussions about the power play and special teams over the years, and we think very similar.
"He's been quite the confidant in my life since I was 18."
This will be the first time Boudreau and Anderson coach together. They've coached against each other for years in the Colonial, American and International Leagues.
"The man's won five championships at those levels," Boudreau said. "His teams have always been good. Usually, the power play of his winning teams are the best in the league and that's a lot of what I wanted to draw on.
"Offensively, he thinks outside the box and his teams are really difficult to play against."
Boudreau arrives back in Minnesota on Sunday. He'll be here for a three or four days for meetings. He's excited he'll be involved in these pre-draft pro meetings to discuss the roster, potential trades and free agency. He said he was never involved in that in Anaheim or Washington.
His wife is also arriving Thursday to begin looking for a home.
Since meeting with Zach Parise and Ryan Suter late last month, Boudreau has talked with captain Mikko Koivu.
"We had a real good conversation," Boudreau said. "Other than that, I feel like a truck driver. All I've been doing is driving."
As of June 15, the buyout window opens. There's a chance the Wild buys out Thomas Vanek, but Boudreau said that has not been told to him yet.
Lots of fans have asked me how Suter has taken to the fact that Boudreau has never had a defenseman average more than 23 or 24 minutes a game.
Boudreau said he has not discussed that with Suter yet.
"It depends how good the rest of the defense is," Boudreau said. "All I said is my thing is I've never had a defenseman play the kind of minutes he plays, but that doesn’t mean he won't play those kind of minutes.
"It'll mostly depend on [Stevens]. He’s going to be running the defense. Ryan is one of the best ones out there, so he'll play a lot. How much? I don’t know. I haven’t been on a bench with him once in my life."