Chuck Fletcher’s name comes up in the discussion for best general manager in the NHL. While his record is not without blemish, and he cannot really claim the title without a championship, the consensus is that he has done a good job of building a contending squad from one that seemed to be running in place. However, some of that success came at the cost of organizational depth. The AHL results have been poor, and misguided drafting takes some blame for the lack of skill in the developmental league.
This offseason the Minnesota Wild faced the problems of a contending team. Veteran players are key to winning in the NHL but their salaries can make for tough salary-cap decisions elsewhere in the roster. Veterans also tend to decline in performance at some point. To offset any drop in performance, the team relies on young and relatively inexpensive talent whose growing pains can sometimes be costly. Could this be the season that the young guys and the older guys hit the perfect balance and propel the team to the Finals? It presents a tough situation for the player who has yet to establish himself.
July 4th, 2012 changed the Minnesota Wild’s course for the foreseeable future. Twin 13-year contracts for Zach Parise and Ryan Suter switched the Wild into win-now mode: an expensive and risky move that is easier announced than accomplished. Three seasons later, the team has qualified for the post-season in each season and won two playoff series total. Read more»
Sweden once again proved to be the hottest European commodity at the NHL Draft. This is a trend that began in 2011, when Sweden saw an outstanding and record-setting 28 players taken, eight more than the year before. In 2012, another 22 were selected. In 2013, that number increased slightly, seeing another 25 Swedes taken. Then it 2014, it became 31, 28 of whom were Swedish-born. Read more»
Coming into the 2015 NHL Draft the Minnesota Wild‘s prospect pool was one of the league’s weakest thanks to a combination of graduations, misses at the 2011 NHL draft, bewildering picks in other recent draft classes, valuable picks (especially the 2013 first-rounder) sent away for established players, and lack of late-round successes lately. The team needs to win more than one playoff round to justify such costly gambles, but it seemed to readjust its prospect development strategy for this draft. Moving away from drafting players with limited ability and upside is a major step in the right direction.