There will be two new assistant coaches on either side of recently hired Wild coach Bruce Boudreau next season.
Longtime Wild assistants Rick Wilson and Darryl Sydor have been informed they won’t be returning to the bench, according to multiple sources.
Assistant coach Darby Hendrickson, the Wild’s eye in the sky during games, and goalie coach Bob Mason will sign new contracts and return to the club in their same roles, sources confirmed.
Assistant coach Andrew Brunette is expected to rejoin the front office. Brunette, who played six seasons for the Wild over two stints, originally was hired by General Manager Chuck Fletcher as a hockey operations adviser before former coach Mike Yeo asked him to be an assistant the past two seasons. He has a year left on his contract. Brunette’s main responsibility was the power play.
Former interim coach John Torchetti, who has another year left on his contract as coach of the AHL’s Iowa Wild, is a candidate for assistant coaching positions with the Florida Panthers and Detroit Red Wings. He has been granted permission to pursue other jobs. If he doesn’t get one, Torchetti and Fletcher are expected to speak again regarding a job within the Wild.
The contracts for Wilson and Sydor expire June 30, and it’s unclear if they’ll remain with the organization in another capacity. Wilson has been offered that opportunity, although his first preference is to coach somewhere next season. Sydor, too, would love to coach, but with four children, he likely would be interested to remain in another role.
Wilson, 65, spent six years as a Wild assistant. He came to Minnesota before Todd Richards’ second and final season as coach and was carried over onto Yeo’s bench. He has been an NHL assistant or associate coach for five franchises since 1988 (including the North Stars during their final season in 1992-93) and won a Stanley Cup in 1999 with Dallas.
Sydor, 44, spent five years as a Wild assistant. He came to Minnesota along with Yeo after the two coached the Houston Aeros to the 2011 Calder Cup Final. Sydor, drafted seventh overall in 1990 by the Los Angeles Kings, played 18 seasons in the NHL, ranks 18th all-time among defensemen with 1,291 regular-season games and won two Stanley Cups.
Fletcher had said that while he had ideas regarding the makeup of the coaching staff, Boudreau would be given “free rein” when it came to his chief lieutenants.
Over the past two years in Anaheim, Boudreau’s assistants — Bob Woods and Brad Lauer — were let go by GM Bob Murray. Asked last week if he felt his legs were cut out from him, Boudreau told the Star Tribune: “I don’t think it’s the best thing. But, I mean, the guys that Bob Murray selected were really intelligent, good hockey people, so it made it easy. But you always like to think you know the person that you’re standing beside.”
Two names that could fit that bill are Woods and John Anderson.
Woods has been Boudreau’s longtime right-hand man in Hershey, Washington and Anaheim. He is the Saskatoon Blades GM and coach. Anderson is a good friend of Boudreau’s and successful minor league coach. He used to coach the Atlanta Thrashers and is on a second stint coaching the AHL’s Chicago Wolves.
Boudreau, who calls the forward lines on the bench, discussed last week how he runs a bench.
“Usually in the past, one guy runs the defense, there’s myself and another guy to my left ends up usually running the power play while at the same time talking to players as they come back to the bench because I can’t focus on telling them what to do while also trying to match lines and get ready for the next shift.”