The Wild will have a new look behind the bench next season.
Assistant Brett McLean is exiting Dean Evason's staff to take over as head coach of the Wild's minor-league affiliate in Iowa.
"We have so many fantastic prospects," McLean said, "and working in the American Hockey League is so much fun because they're so eager and they have a lot to learn and they're ready to learn it."
McLean was introduced as Iowa's fifth head coach on Tuesday, nearly six weeks after the Wild decided not to renew the contracts of coach Tim Army and assistants Nate DiCasmirro and Nolan Yonkman.
Iowa went 34-27-11 last season in the AHL before getting swept in the first round of the playoffs.
This will be McLean's second stint with Iowa: He was an assistant there for three seasons before joining the Wild in 2020 as an assistant.
"I wasn't sure if this was the right time at first," said McLean, whose wife Brenna, daughter Darian and sons Nixon and Nash will continue to live in the Twin Cities. "But as we worked through the process and I talked to my family, it became very clear that this was the right time to make this move."
Before his coaching career, McLean played 18 seasons and more than 1,100 games in seven leagues including the NHL where he totaled 385 games for Chicago, Colorado and Florida after Dallas drafted him in the ninth round in 1997.
McLean, 44, also appeared in 274 AHL games, and the Comox, B.C., native represented Canada at the World Junior Championship and in six Spengler Cups.
"He's just a player in a coach's body," General Manager Bill Guerin said. "The way he can get his message out is something that's an advantage for him."
With the Wild, McLean oversaw the power play, and the team plans to hire a replacement. The Wild also have assistants Bob Woods and Darby Hendrickson alongside Evason, who signed a three-year contract extension in 2021.
"I know the way Bill Guerin, Dean Evason and everybody wants our players to play with the Minnesota Wild," McLean said. "I've been in those rooms. I've been in those meetings. I really feel that I can help our players and especially help myself and our staff as well to teach these players the way we want them to play for the Minnesota Wild so they can win with the Minnesota Wild."
While McLean said much of how Iowa plays will align with the Wild's style, he also acknowledged "you have to put your own stamp on it."
Important to him is speed, a relentless attitude and discipline, and developing prospects is the top priority for an organization that has an intriguing group of up-and-comers.
First-round picks Marco Rossi and Jesper Wallstedt were with Iowa last season, with Rossi producing at almost a point-per-game pace and Wallstedt going 18-15-5 in net after coming over from Sweden. Players like Carson Lambos, Caedan Bankier and David Spacek are turning pro next season, and the Wild currently have two second rounders to go along with their first-round selection at this year's draft in late June.
"These players are going to have a lot of freedom in Iowa to use their skill, to develop their skill," McLean said. "But they've got to do it within the framework of the team."