Minnesota Wild interim coach Dean Evason understands the cards have been stacked against him.

While trying to prove to general manager Bill Guerin that he’s the right guy for the job, Evason watched helplessly a few months ago as a once-in-a-life pandemic shut the league down completely.

He had put together an 8-4-0 record in 12 games after taking over for the fired Bruce Boudreau, found a way to unlock another dimension in budding superstar Kevin Fiala’s game and, most importantly, had the Wild well on their way to chasing down the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Not that Evason is feeling sorry for himself as the Wild prepare to take on the Vancouver Canucks in the qualifying round. He knows everything he wants to accomplish — and everything the Wild want to accomplish — is still there for the taking.

“My feeling is I’m one of the luckiest guys in the world,” Evason said Thursday. “I actually say that a lot to the guys when I walk in the room and they ask how I’m doing. What would I have to complain about? I’m coaching in the NHL. It’s a pretty unique situation and a pretty special job. I don’t take any of that for granted. I know that I’m very fortunate to be in this spot.”

That said, Evason is well aware of what’s at stake as the postseason begins. The Wild begin a few weeks of training Monday at TRIA Rink before starting a best-of-five series with the Vancouver Canucks on Aug. 1. If Evason leads the Wild on a playoff run, it would be almost impossible for Guerin not to give him the job.

“I’d be lying if I said I don’t think about what possibly can happen,” Evason said. “It’s completely out of my control. I’m going about my business as the interim head coach, just leading our coaching staff into putting practice plans and game plans together to provide the players with the ability to go out and play the game.”

Evason said the plan next week is to start slow, so that everyone get get their legs back under them, and then eventually ramp up to live scrimmages. As wacky as these past few months have been, Evason expects it to feel somewhat normal when the Wild and the Canucks drop the puck at a site to be determined.

“There’s a Stanley Cup at the end here,” Evason said. “If somebody 20 years down the line says, ‘Who won the Stanly Cup in 2020?’ it’s not going to be, ‘Oh that was the COVID year.’ It’s just going to be, ‘The Minnesota Wild won the Stanley Cup.’ That’s it. You’re going to win the Stanley Cup.”

“‘If we can win that Stanley Cup, I assume that when we pick it up it’ll feel the exact same way,” he added. “Our goal is always ultimately to win the Stanley Cup. We had to get in to get there. We are there. We are in. We have that phenomenal opportunity in front of us.”

Likewise, Evason has a phenomenal opportunity in front of him.