Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Yeo's Houston Successor a Great Choice, Enjoy Him While He Lasts

Greetings from the beautiful shores of Minnesota's Leech Lake. God's country in other words. Sand is filtering  between my toes as I type this.

When the Minnesota Wild promoted  Houston Aeros  coach Mike Yeo to replace departed Wild coach Todd Richards last month the move filled one whole but created another within the organization. That situation  was rectified with today's the announcement that veteran NHL assistant John Torchetti has been hired to guide Minnesota's top farm club this season.

That Torchetti got the job somewhat caught me off guard if only because his wasn't one of the names I'd seen bandied about. The candidates most mentioned were former Columbus Blue Jackets assistant Gary Agnew, San Jose Sharks assistant Trent Yawney, and Calgary Flames assistant Ryan McGill; none of which did a whole lot for me.

Torchetti, on the other hand, is a pleasant surprise and an outstanding choice. Early on in the Wild's search for a Richards replacement, Torchetti--along with Yeo and University of Wisconsin coach Mike Eaves--was on my personal short list of favored candidates. I've already had my say in this forum about what turned out to be the runner-up candidates for the Wild job.

I believe Torchetti to be the ideal man to carry the torch of accountability that Yeo lit last season and train Minnesota's prospects to be professional in every sense of the word. I look for the Aeros to continue to be extremely competitive under Torchetti as well.

All of this, of course, leads to the one potential drawback of this choice: Torchetti's tenure may be short, as little as one season. If he has the success I think he'll have in Houston, Torchetti will be a sizzling-hot commodity in next spring's coaching carousel. Enjoy him while you can Wild/Aeros fans.

The John Torchetti File:

  • Age: 46
  • Hometown: Boston, Massachusetts
  • Most-recent Employer/Position: Atlanta Thrashers (NHL)/Associate Coach
  • Prior NHL Experience/Capacity:
    • Chicago (2007-08 to 2009-10)/Assistant
    • Los Angeles (2005-06)/Assistant
    • Florida (2002-03 to 2003-04)/Assistant
    • Tampa Bay (1999-00 to 2000-01)/Assistant
  • Playing Career:
    • 532 points (258 goals, 274 assists) in 359 minor league games over seven seasons with the Carolina Thunderbirds (ACHL, AAHL, ECHL), Virginia Lancers (ACHL), Binghamton Whalers (AHL) and Winston-Salem Thunderbirds (ECHL) from 1984-85 to 1990-91.


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