What in the world is going on with the Minnesota Wild? During the deadline this year the team was at a crossroad, buy or sell. They were on the fringe of a playoff spot and the team decided to sell. That was the right decision for the organization. They had to sell some pieces to get younger. Going into the 2018-19 season the Wild had the oldest roster in the league with an age of 29 years old. Now going into the 2019-20 season they fire their GM who had held the job for a little over a year.
GM Paul Fenton inherited a not so good situation for his first year on the job. He had a couple of bad contracts that were impossible to move and had zero young talent because they have not drafted and developed well enough in the past few years. He then went out and made a few trades that backfired in his face, for now, Niederreiter for Rask, Granlund for Fiala, but those trades are still a bit too early to declare a clear winner. Fenton was also openly trying to trade top defenseman Jason Zucker which left a sour taste in the player’s mouth and my guess is the owner as well.
Fenton who already had the oldest roster decided to go out and give Mats Zuccarello a five-year contract to the 31-year-old winger. Not the best contract to give out especially since we have seen teams this offseason trying to move players at the end of similar deals, looking at you Boston, and being unsuccessful. Maybe the owner saw that deal and had enough of Fenton because he is not sure which direction the Wild are moving. For a GM to be fired just after one year is unheard of.
One GM that comes to mind after a rough first year is Don Sweeney. Sweeney’s rough started at the 2015 NHL draft where he had picks 13,14, and 15. At the time other executives and scouts were saying Sweeney screwed up and to this day he did screw up with those picks minus DeBrusk. Sweeney also traded a third round pick for Zac Ronaldo horrendous start to his GM tenure. Ownership stuck with Sweeney and he brought the Bruins to game 7 of the Stanley Cup four years later.
You have to allow a GM more than a year on the job. A lot can happen within a year, maybe you get a player hit this year with an expiring deal and can get a top prospect or high draft pick. We may never know the reason why Fenton got fired but it’s a bad look for the Wild.
They are almost to training camp without a GM. If you’re going to fire the GM do it right after the season, so the replacement can get his guys in there via free agency or trade. Now he will go into the season with a roster he did not build, players must feel great about this current situation.
Minnesota is not good enough to make the playoffs and not bad enough for a high draft pick. A move like this is shocking and if anything this will cause chaos throughout the organization. Minnesota is now a dumpster fire and it is a shame it’s happening in the state that proclaims themselves “The State Of Hockey”. Ottawa can now pass the dumpster fire torch to Minnesota. This upcoming season for Minnesota will be one to watch to see what and how they do.