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Wild head coach Evason’s job ‘not in imminent danger’

Dean Evason Minnesota Wild Dean Evason - The Canadian Press

The Minnesota Wild are lingering at the bottom of the National Hockey League standings but a coaching change doesn’t appear to be in the cards for now.

Despite the Wild sitting 28th and having lost five straight games, TSN Hockey Insider Chris Johnston doesn’t think head coach Dean Evason, who was appointed interim head coach of the Wild on Feb. 14, 2020, after the firing of Bruce Boudreau, is at risk of being fired. 

“The sense is he’s not in imminent danger,” said Johnston on Tuesday’s edition of Insider Trading. “And I think that’s mainly because management looks at this roster and says, it’s not a trade away from being fixed, it’s not a coaching change away from being fixed. It’s up to the best players on this team to pull them through what’s been a difficult stretch.

“Look at the roster, you’ve got Kirill Kaprizov with five goals, Marcus Foligno with two goals, Matt Boldy had 31 last year, he’s only got one goal on the season. So, I think right now, when Bill Guerin had a pretty heated meeting with his players here within the last week, the message is that it’s up to them to get themselves out of it, rather than a change coming from above.”

The Wild have struggled on special teams this season. They have the worst penalty kill in the NHL at just 65.5 per cent, a big drop off from last year’s mark of 82 per cent (10th in the NHL). They aren’t much better on the power play, sitting 24th at 15.6 per cent.

Minnesota has also seen a decline is goaltending. After a breakthrough campaign in 2022-23, Filip Gustavsson is 2-4-2 this season with an .882 save percentage and 4.15 goals-against average. Veteran Marc-Andre Fleury has also struggled, with an .875 save percentage and 3.46 GAA. The team has allowed 68 goals against through 17 games this season, fifth-worst in the NHL, and are just 20th in goals scored with 53. 

They made a pair of small trades on Nov. 8, dealing defenceman Calen Addison to the San Jose Sharks in exchange for forward Adam Raska and a 2026 fifth-round pick and acquired defenceman Zach Bogosian from the Tampa Bay Lightning for a 2025 seventh-round pick.

The Wild made the playoffs last season but lost in the first round for the third year in a row. The team is also carrying a dead cap of a combined $14.7 million with the buyouts of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter.