When I heard about the idea of bringing in former Minnesota Wild head coach Mike Yeo as an assistant/future head coach for the St. Louis Blues, I got excited. I won't apologize for being optimistic about the idea of General Manager Doug Armstrong having some sort of plan in place for when Ken Hitchcock finally takes his dirty dozen long johns and heads out.
It would be nice to have a plan in place other than ride the Hitchcock boat year to year or hope the 65 year old changes his mind and comes back. Let's think ahead for a change and Yeo is a good coach to think that way with. Now that Brad Shaw and Kirk Muller(both your suggested in house replacements) are gone, who do you have in mind for the next head coach of the Blues? Yeo is good idea because he's young, hungry, and pissed off at the way his last job ended.
Yeo has been a coach for 17 years in the OHL, IHL, AHL and with the Penguins and Wild in the NHL. He has been a student of the game for a long time and at 43 was one of the youngest NHL head coaches in the league. If you are going to transition after the elder stubborn Hitch, a young gun like Yeo would be a great choice.
He has pedigree to go with respect. After a 35-36 record in his entry season in 2011-12, Yeo took the Wild to three straight playoff appearances, including two in the second round. For all the fans who complained about the Blues many abrupt playoff exits, Yeo took a lesser Wild team(roster wise) to the second round in his 3rd and fourth year of being a head coach. Blues fans also know this because Yeo's Wild upset the Blues in the 2014-15 playoffs. He already has your attention. Maybe, in a year, he will have your Blues moving forward.
Yeo's overall record of 173-142-44 in the NHL as a head coach is impressive with a team and owner that didn't exactly provide him with the roster muscle to withstand a strong push from Western Conference competition. When asked about his final stretch as Wild coach after being fired in February, Yeo refused to blame a lack of a roster upgrade or his players. He laid the emphasis on himself like a general falling on his sword. It didn't work out for Yeo in Minnesota but he is a hungry coach with a ton of experience at every level with something to offer.
When I think of Yeo's ability to connect with younger players, I think of what he would do with Vladimir Tarasenko, Robby Fabbri, and Colton Parayko. Give Yeo a roster like St. Louis and he may push this team even further. You could build a life around this coach. Instead of renting Ken Hitchcock for a season, you could set Yeo in place for a long time.
For the people who don't like him, give me another name that you think could lead this Blues team better. Name one with Yeo's impressive coaching history and stats as a young hockey mind. The Anaheim Ducks and other teams will talk to him this summer about a head coaching position. He may take the job elsewhere. I hope he doesn't. I like Yeo's fit with the Blues. I like a hungry young coach coming into St. Louis looking to make his second stint as a coach far greater than his first. A scorned coach can be good for business.
I hope Yeo accepts an offer that Doug Armstrong inevitably offers. Come learn the system, layout, and players behind Hitch for a year and then take over. A private handshake agreement that may be an exciting moment for Blues fans.
Having Yeo in place for years after Hitch may play a small yet pivotal role in retaining David Backes. The Captain would like to know the team had a plan in place for the post Hitch era.
If the Blues are serious about Mike Yeo, it could be a good potentially great move for St. Louis.
Also, it doesn't hurt to have a head coach that looks like the Hitman video game character with a goatee.