Minnesota Wild locks up Dean Evason, trains staff for contract extensions

The Minnesota Wild general manager says Dean Evason is both a passionate and compassionate person.

“Dean is a great communicator,” Guerin said of the Wild coach. “I think he’s always upfront and honest with guys. I think it probably goes back to his playing days. Communication is one of his strengths.

“There’s a lot to like with what Dean brings to the table.”

And he was rewarded by the organization for that.

Evason, 57, and the entire Wild coach have been signed to multi-year extensions, in a move the team announced Thursday afternoon ahead of this weekend’s Winter Classic game at Target Field .

Evason has guided the Wild to a 62-29-7 mark since his title was upgraded from interim to head coach on July 13, 2020. He was a finalist for the Jack Adams Award in 2021, in a season over which the Wild displayed a . 670 winning percentage and pushed the Vegas Golden Knights to Game 7 in a first-round Stanley Cup playoff series.

The Wild enter Saturday’s game with the St. Louis Blues tied for second in the Central Division, just one point behind the Blues. Minnesota, which hasn’t played a game since Dec. 20, is also tied for the third-most points in the Western Conference and has demonstrated its ability to be a Stanley Cup contender throughout the throughout the first half of the NHL schedule.

“(The extension) has been clear in my mind for a while. It was just to do it,” Guerin said. I think the turnaround of our team is proof of that.

Evason joined the Wild as an assistant coach in 2018 after six seasons coaching the Milwaukee Admirals of the American Hockey League (AHL). He led the Admirals to a mark of 242-161-53 during that span.

Evason did not want his extension announced until contract negotiations with the rest of the coaching staff were completed. It’s part of the ‘team first’ mentality he insists on.

“I think you guys now, that’s what we do,” Evason said during a media availability briefing Thursday. “That’s how we want to behave as an organization. It’s not just me, it’s not just our coaching staff.

“It’s certainly important to me personally as a head coach that all of our staff have a voice – that they matter,” Evason said. “Yes, a lot of things fall on the head coach and the general manager, but we have so much help from so many people.”

The Wild’s coaching staff includes assistants Darby Hendrickson, Brett McLean and Bob Woods, goalie coach Frederic Chabot and video coaches TJ Jindra and Jonas Plumb.

Evason was asked what the expansion means to him.

“I don’t know if relief is the right word or excited,” Evason said. “We are all excited to move forward. We have taken steps forward, but success is the Stanley Cup. You can take small steps on the path we have, but we haven’t taken big steps yet.

“That’s our goal – to win the Stanley Cup,” Evason said. “If not, then what are we doing here?” I hope we are on the right track to do so.

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