Michael Russo of the Star Tribune posted up some news about what's going to happen with the Minnesota Wild's coaching situation since Bruce Boudreau has been hired to helm the disappointing not-North-Stars and it's got an interesting tidbit about the fate of John Torchetti:
Former interim coach John Torchetti, who has another year left on his contract as coach of the 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.
This is decently standard for teams with how they treat interim guys. He could go back and coach the Iowa Wild or he could move on elsewhere. Once you've made a guy a head coach to any degree and then replace him, you tend to see a lot more interest from around the league.
While I still think former Columbus head coach Todd Richards is the leading candidate for the current Wings' opening for a coach to help the forwards and power play, I think the Wings doing due-diligence on all the options is absolutely the right move. Either way, Detroit will likely have their choice made before too long.
To find out more about Torchetti and whether he'd be a fit for the forwards/PP position, I reached out to our sister site Hockey Wilderness for perspective from the Wild. Here's managing editor Joe Bouley's take:
Overall, Torch came into a really awful situation with the Wild after they canned Mike Yeo. The room was divided, there were struggling vets and the Wild were facing an early offseason.
While the Wild hadn't been particularly good in the puck possession metrics all season long, those numbers took a hit when Torch took over. It was way more dump and chase. However, he got a fire lit underneath some of the more talented 20 somethings, namely Erik Haula, and got that line with Haula, Nino Niederreiter, and a resurgent Jason Pominville to carry the team to the post-season.
There was a difference with Torch with the Wild even on the first night. The first post-game presser showed that Torchetti pays attention to everything - mostly the little things on the ice. He seemed like a great guy with a South Boston accent who took very little crap. As GM Chuck Fletcher put it, "This team was in triage mode," and Torchetti got the Wild to play just good enough to beat the Avalanche in the standings for another post-season.
He really seemed to resonate with the younger guys in the lineup and put guys into a better position to succeed than did Yeo. We don't really know what his system is, or what he'd install differently given a chance at a full year, without having to bail out water from the sinking ship. However, the power play was better, even if some veteran guys still held some deeply rooted bad habits (*cough* Suter *cough*). There was more traffic and more balance between the first and second units than there was under Yeo.
As for the PK, the Wild PK was something awful all season long and it's tough to tell if Torch could have fixed the car that was already totaled.
Overall, he's a likable guy that seems to get through youth playing better, and his special teams work was so-so at best. He should be a solid assistant in Detroit, or anywhere else he might end up.
I really like the concept about resonating with younger guys while also getting more traffic, as those are both big needs for the Wings at forward and on the power play. As the assistant, he wouldn't be fully responsible for shaking veterans out of bad habits, but between Torchetti and Houda, I'd be real curious about how much guff the new assistants would take.
All we know at this point is that Torchetti is a potential candidate. We should know a lot more about how this position is going to be filled by the end of the week, as the Wings have consistently talked about wanting to have these hires finished quickly.