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»
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.
The Minnesota Wild‘s struggles this season cost head coach Mike Yeo his job, but a bigger problem than his decision-making threatens the Wild’s future success. The prospect pool lacks star quality. Though there has been plenty of trade babble, young stars and old come at premium prices. Rather than having a budding home-grown star waiting in the wings, the Wild’s recent run of below-average drafting has meant little flexibility for Chuck Fletcher, as well as an AHL team mired at the bottom of the standings.
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.