Thursday would have been Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals, had the Wild beaten the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 6. Instead Wild head coach Mike Yeo met with the media for his post season press conference.
Patrick Kane's goal in overtime of Game 6 ended the Wild's hopes for a Game 7 and sent them into the offseason.
"To be perfectly honest, I’m still a little bit bitter. There’s still a little bit of disbelief. You wake up in the morning and think ‘ok I’m on my way to work.’ Obviously it’s a season — it’s long, it’s hard. There’s a lot of incredibly great emotions that go along with some of the tough parts and it just comes to a grinding halt. So, still a little bit of disbelief I guess.”
The biggest job for the team right now is getting the coach signed to a contract extension. Yeo, the NHL's youngest coach, just completed his first three-year deal.
Yeo and the Wild are expected to agree on a contract extension soon.
There are other issues the Wild will have to examine during the offseason as well.
Stabilizing the goaltending situation could be at the top of the potential roster moves.
The Wild used five goalies during the season, none of them played more than 29 regular season games. Niklas Backstrom, Josh Harding, Darcy Kuemper, Ilya Bryzgalov and John Curry all started games in net for the Wild.
According to the Star Tribune, the Wild could look to trade Backstrom and eat a portion of his $3.5 million annual salary.
Harding is a more complicated situation. He missed the last half of the season dealing with his multiple sclerosis. Gone Puck Wild says it has come to the point where Harding is only hurting the team.
Kuemper is a restricted free-agent and as a result could demand a one-way contract.
Another change for the Wild might include former Gophers standout Thomas Vanek, who is currently playing for Montreal.
The Bleacher Report says he will be a highly sought after free agent and Fletcher could make a play for him.
Yeo credited Fletcher for making those moves.
"You don't have to look to hard to figure out that there were two guys we signed that were an incredibly huge part of changing that culture," said Yeo.
He also gave a lot of credit to the fans for helping to create a home-field advantage.