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John Hynes Making Nashville Return Sooner Than Expected

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John Hynes
Photo of John Hynes by David Russell/Nashville Hockey Now

When the 2023 NHL season began with former Nashville Predators head coach John Hynes still unemployed, the expectation was the 48-year-old would take a year off from coaching before interviewing for another job in 2024.

But when Hynes started showing up at San Jose Sharks practice and fraternizing with head coach and good buddy David Quinn, some began to wonder if Hynes was closer to returning to an NHL bench sooner than expected.

That question was answered on Monday when the Minnesota Wild fired head coach Dean Evason, who led Minnesota to a 147-77-27 record with three playoff appearances in parts of five seasons, including back-to-back 100-point seasons in 2021 and 2022, after a 5-10-4 start and hired Hynes as his replacement.

Coincidentally, the Predators host the Wild on Thursday, marking Hynes’ first game at Bridgestone Arena since Nashville’s season finale against the Colorado Avalanche on April 14.

Hynes was fired by first-year Predators general manager Barry Trotz at the end of May and replaced with Andrew Brunette. He compiled a 134-96-18 record (.540 win percentage) in three-plus seasons with a 3-11 record in the playoffs.

“John Hynes is a good man and a good hockey coach,” Trotz said after firing Hynes. “He did an outstanding job after the trade deadline with our team, especially with our young players, and he is a well-prepared, hard-working coach who will continue to grow in the NHL.”

Despite never being part of the Wild, Hynes, who was a finalist for the New York Rangers head coaching job during the offseason, already has a history with those in charge in Minnesota.

He’s previously worked under Wild GM Bill Guerin and his senior advisor Ray Shero during his time as head coach of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in the American Hockey League. Shero also hired Hynes as the head coach of the New Jersey Devils in 2015 after taking over as the team’s GM.

Follow Michael Gallagher on X/Twitter @MGsports_