The Wild Beat
See more of the story

The NHL's expansion trade freeze came and went with no Wild moves Saturday. Here's a story on that.

But in other news, the Wild’s search for an assistant coach to replace Hall of Famer Scott Stevens is starting to heat up.

Boudreau said he has sat down with two candidates and talked to others by phone. His hope is to have a person hired by next weekend’s draft so the two can meet about the team for a few days in Chicago, but he said that’s not essential. What is essential, he said, is having a hire by the July 7-13 development camp.

Bob Woods is the likely frontrunner. Woods has played for Boudreau and more importantly coached with Boudreau in Hershey, Washington and Anaheim. Woods, an assistant coach with the Buffalo Sabres, is free to talk to other teams now that the staff’s in flux with Phil Housley’s hiring as head coach.

Boudreau is keeping the candidates under wraps, but some potential candidates include Todd Nelson, who coached Grand Rapids to a Calder Cup, Ryan McGill and Dean Chynoweth. Boudreau said he wants to hire a former defenseman with NHL experience, and there’s a couple “interesting candidates” out there, some fresh off the ice.

Former NHL defenseman Bret Hedican, a Minnesotan, has talked with San Jose about an assistant coaching spot and may be of interest in Nashville.

Boudreau indicated the Wild may elevate John Anderson to be his top assistant and have him change the defensemen.

“With the system we have in place, with the defense that we have, we pretty well all know it, even the Reillys and Olofssons,” Boudreau said. “John has been a head coach almost all his life, so he would know how to run the bench. The players all know John now and they respect him, and he knows the game both from the defensive standpoint and offensive standpoint.”

Former Wild assistant coach Rick Wilson is also finalizing a contract to be reunited with Ken Hitchcock in Dallas, sources say.