The 2011 NHL Draft was held in the Minnesota Wild’s own yard, which put a little bit of pressure on the scouts and managers not to fumble things. It remains to this day an open question whether Chuck Fletcher took that opportunity to put his mark on the Wild in a positive or negative way. His tenure as General Manager had already gotten off to a rocky start when he sent the Wild’s 2009 first-rounder Nick Leddy off to Chicago in exchange for Cam Barker, who put up five points in 52 games in the 2010-11 season for the Wild and was out of the NHL soon thereafter. Read more»
Once again it has been a tough year to be a prospect in the Minnesota Wild organization. Chris Porter, Jarret Stoll, David Jones, and Nate Prosser took some of the minutes in the NHL often reserved for younger players but the team lacked for better options. Although Christian Folin (eventually) graduated, Mike Reilly looked like a possible fit during his stint, and Kurtis Gabriel got a great opportunity to play a role in the playoffs, the team’s lack of NHL-ready depth was a major factor in a disappointing season.
The Wild’s NCAA prospects form the heart of the team’s developmental system, yet perhaps the team’s best assets are playing in professional leagues in Europe this season. College players have been central to Chuck Fletcher’s developmental approach – perhaps because he himself is a college man – with half of the Spring Top 20 coming out of NCAA programs.
Now past the midpoint of the 2015-16 season, a relatively healthy and whole Minnesota Wild team is cooling of late. Offense is down, shots for are down, shots against are up, and points have been lost in the NHL’s new 3-on-3 overtime format. The Wild has dropped four in a row while the rival Chicago Blackhawks are on a 12-game winning streak. Read more»