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Blues hire Yeo, will become head coach in ’17-18

Mike Yeo

Minnesota Wild head coach Mike Yeo argues a call in the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Nashville Predators Tuesday, March 17, 2015, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)


Ten days ago, we passed along a report that the Blues were considering bringing ex-Wild head coach Mike Yeo on board to work on Ken Hitchcock’s staff -- with the long-range plan of having Yeo take over when Hitch steps down after next season.

Well, that report is now official.

From the Blues:

St. Louis Blues President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Doug Armstrong announced today the Blues have named Mike Yeo Associate Coach.

In addition, Armstrong announced that Yeo will be named Head Coach to begin the 2017-18 season and his contract will run through the 2019-20 season.

Armstrong also announced that Rick Wilson has been named an Assistant Coach, while Assistant Coach Ray Bennett, Goaltending Coach Jim Corsi and Video Coach Sean Ferrell will return to the coaching staff.

So, busy day in St. Louis. Let’s unpack this one-by-one.

Yeo: After Hitchcock announced next season would be his last as Blues coach, Armstrong set about finding a replacement now, rather than wait for next offseason. It wasn’t at all surprising St. Louis had interest in Yeo, who’s been a fairly hot commodity since being dismissed in Minnesota, where he spent 4.5 years, making the playoffs three straight times.

Previous reports claimed Yeo interviewed for the Ottawa, Anaheim and Calgary gigs.

MORE: Two weeks before the draft, still no head coach in Calgary or Anaheim

The Yeo hire marks a significant shift behind the bench. Hitchcock, 64, is one of the NHL’s oldest bench bosses while Yeo, 42, was the NHL’s youngest during his first four seasons in charge of the Wild.

Wilson: One of Yeo’s right-hand men in Minnesota, Wilson has history with Hitchcock as well -- they captured the 1999 Stanley Cup together in Dallas. At 65, he will become the elder statesman on St. Louis’ bench but is almost a near-perfect fit for this gig. In addition to his previous relationships with Yeo and Hitchcock, Wilson also played for the Blues, manning the club’s blueline from 1974-76.

Bennett: He’s the lone holdover from last year’s assistant coaching staff. Kirk Muller took a similar position in Montreal while Brad Shaw, who was with the organization for the last 10 years, opted to look for other opportunities, rather than return on a one-year deal, like Hitchcock.