The NHL’s salary cap forced Chuck Fletcher and the Minnesota Wild into a tough balancing act. On the one side are the well-paid veterans whose skill levels are established, if subject to bad luck and other kinds of decline. On the other side are the players on a first contract or an entry-level deal: the rookies and the young core. These players offer occasional glimpses of their best selves, but often disappoint with mistakes or other kinds of regression, especially when they are thrust into new roles. Mediocrity is the result when rookies fail to make the leap to consistent good play and veterans fall back a step.
Things have trended down for the Minnesota Wild‘s AHL affiliate since losing in the 2011 Calder Cup final to Binghamton. The team was moved from Houston to Iowa and while this makes for much easier ground transportation for players on recall, the on-ice results have not been good thus far.
After five years on the job general manager Chuck Fletcher has made his mark on the Minnesota Wild, swiftly rebuilding a franchise that had lost its way. He has assembled a promising young core of Mikael Granlund, Jonas Brodin, Nino Niederreiter, Charlie Coyle, Jared Spurgeon, Erik Haula, Darcy Kuemper, Matt Dumba, and Christian Folin. With a strong group of veterans brought in via trade and free agency to supplement the few holdovers from the prior administrative regime, this leaves very little room for true prospects at the moment.