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Wild owner praises GM Fletcher: ‘I like his style’

Jun 22, 2014, 6:48 PM EDT

Mikael Granlund, Marco Scandella, Dany Heatley, Jonas Brodin AP

For some time, it seemed like the Minnesota Wild went as far as Ryan Suter, Zach Parise and Mikko Koivu would take them. As important as that trio remains, it’s clear that the team is developing a young supporting cast that could change a top-heavy club to a deep, scary group.

(Just ask the Chicago Blackhawks, who seemed relieved to escape their second-round series in six games.)

The team’s promising group of prospects/improving young players isn’t lost on Wild owner Craig Leipold, who praised GM Chuck Fletcher’s team-building skills to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

“I mean, what good are bringing two players like that in if you can’t surround them with good guys?” Leipold said. “When I think of all the contributions Chuck has made to this organization, the biggest is the way he has drafted and developed. That enables us to do everything else that we do.”

” … I like his style.”

Twenty-two-year-old forward Mikael Granlund is the most obvious example of Minnesota’s youth movement, yet he’s far from alone. Charlie Coyle (22), Jonas Brodin (20), Jared Spurgeon (24) and Nino Niederreiter (21) are just some of the players who can be key pieces, especially as they get closer to their prime years.

It’s a pretty foreboding proposition for a Central Division teeming with franchises that look like they’re only going to get better.

  1. mnjoemama - Jun 22, 2014 at 7:00 PM

    Erik Haula !! Was a star in the playoffs his all around skill , PK killing and speed is scary at such a young age . Skol wild

    • strictlythedanks - Jun 22, 2014 at 9:50 PM

      Haula is awesome out there, you could see it coming all along watching him play with the gophers. What a steal.

      • James O'Brien - Jun 22, 2014 at 9:58 PM

        Erik Haula showed some promise, but I wasn’t trying to construct a comprehensive list. If anything, that’s another promising sign for the Wild.

      • lordfletcher - Jun 23, 2014 at 12:05 AM

        Some promise? He carried games from a bottom 6 role.

        He has shown so much promise I’m hoping they trade Koivu and over pay for Stastny…. Who ever you ship Koivu to NYI, Toronto or Nashville… Use that extra first rounder on more offensive draft prospects… Oh to dream.


      • clarke16 - Jun 23, 2014 at 2:13 AM

        Yup…and who does Haula credit for the light bulb going on? Just like Granlund did– Pominville.

        Pommer is the best move Fletcher has made to date…

  2. vstar1us - Jun 22, 2014 at 7:25 PM

    The Wild are doing all the right things, ownership and team leadership have good to great talent to work with!

    Go Wild, it is Awesome to see the Wild will open the regular season against the Aves…

  3. endusersolutions2013 - Jun 22, 2014 at 10:53 PM

    I strongly suspect that once again, the Central will be the toughest division in the NHL.

  4. 950003cups - Jun 22, 2014 at 11:27 PM

    Doesn’t take a slick talking snake oil salesman to throw out someone else’s $98,000,000 for two players.

    Not sure where Fletch is “The Man”

    • lordfletcher - Jun 23, 2014 at 12:09 AM

      Oh come on now… You know he wasn’t the only GM going after on / both. Reported only ten teams didn’t make offers as they knew they had no chance… Not only did Fletcher get both, he got them to take less than other deals that were on the table…

      Fletcher has turned this team from bottom feeder to contender in four years with almost nothing from the previous regime.


      • porkchopexpress1969 - Jun 23, 2014 at 9:28 AM

        If Fletcher was a GM for another team other then Minnesota, he doesn’t get those guys. They came to MN to be close to home. period.

      • lordfletcher - Jun 23, 2014 at 11:16 AM

        can’t disagree but at the same time, I do think he deserves a lot of credit for getting both.

        Do remember, it was both or nothing. Suter was in my eyes a lock for either Detroit or Chicago and Parise in Pittsburgh or Detroit, Chicago, where ever.

        To have Parise (MN) and Suter (WI – wtih MN ties / wife), commit to playing the rest of their careers in Minnesota with a roster at the time that was made up of all potential in their farm…. its incredibly impressive. I don’t doubt Parise sold Suter on them signing together but Fletcher should get a lot of credit for how he could facilitate this deal, and others like Pominville / Nino and his few drafts so far. Still pains us Wild fans to not see Trouba on this roster but time will tell on Dumba. Dumba will be a 30+ point getter no doubt, but will he be a top 4 D man with quality defensive capabilities or just a PP specialist that skates around with his head cut off the rest of the time.

        I have full confidence in this management / ownership team.

        If the Wild still had DR (old GM) and previous owners, they would probably be looking at competing with EDM / NYI for the most laughable franchise. (not trying to poke fun of those two)

    • clarke16 - Jun 23, 2014 at 2:24 AM

      You go now, Dumb Dumb. We no allow stupid to pollute lobby like stench from ass of dragon with hershey squirt. Stupid bad for business. Nobody want egg roll. Nobody want fried rice. Think egg roll make them like Dumb Dumb–wrong in everything they say.

    • williplett - Jun 23, 2014 at 8:58 AM

      Time to move on, cupsy. You have been leaving bitter comments like this on Wild related posts since the signings. Not sure where Fletch is “The Man”? He was able to get a deal done that STILL manages to make you weep and whine nearly every time the topic of this team comes up. Get over it and you might discover that there is more to the Wild than your team’s former captain.

    • purpleguy - Jun 23, 2014 at 11:02 AM

      I think the commenters are missing the point of Russo’s underlying article — Signing Parise and Suter isn’t as impressive as building up a team with young talent from the bare-a$$ed cupboard Risborough left when Fletcher started. Whether MN is home or not, they wouldn’t have come here as FA’s if the future wasn’t bright due to the young talent Fletcher acquired.

  5. slickvb82 - Jun 23, 2014 at 12:12 AM

    Still need a goalie. Cant have another promising season and bandaid fix our goalie problem.

  6. guitarhunterdude - Jun 23, 2014 at 1:10 AM

    Fletcher’s had some nice moments, for sure. Acquiring Niederreiter, Spurgeon in particular, and the Burns deal doesn’t look too bad in retrospect considering we had no real leverage and Burns was unsigned, though Coyle has been a bit disappointing IMO.

    That said, of draft picks that were actually his, only Granlund and Brodin have proven anything so far. Phillips looks like a bust, it’s still too early to say what we got with Dumba, Zucker has shown a flash here and there but nothing to merit more NHL time, and the only other drafted prospect of Fletcher’s that I think has a chance to make the NHL next year is Bulmer, and maybe Bussieres, provided they stay healthy. Taking Kurtis Gabriel in the third last year still irks me. They’ve been able to fill some of the holes with some very savvy trades (thanks to Garth Snow) and hopefully with one or two of the UDFA signings from this year, but Fletcher’s drafting, and Brett Flahr and Co.’s scouting, need to improve markedly before I’m ready to crown him as even an above-average GM. His main contribution so far has been handing out two ridiculous contracts to big-name FAs and, frankly, anyone can do that.

    Side note: Kuemper and Haula were Tommy Thompson picks, not Fletcher’s. We have yet to see a real late-round steal from Fletcher, though I have high hopes for Tyler Graovac.

    • lostpuppysyndrome - Jun 23, 2014 at 5:53 PM

      Frankly, a can of beans would have done more for the team than Risebrough did. However, while Fletcher has had some really good luck, he’s done a fairly decent job turning the Wild around and making it a respectable team. He hasn’t really made any *bad* moves (other than the Barker-Leddy deal). There’s definitely been some mediocrity, but part of the key has been his decision to let players develop before bringing them up to the big show. A lot of GMs don’t have that patience or foresight. Furthermore, I don’t know how some GMs could have done much better than he has either.

  7. arbyemcee - Jun 23, 2014 at 8:46 AM

    2 observations regarding Fletcher beyond the NHL roster. First off, no position within an organization sets the tone of a franchise more than the General Manager position. Are we a classy organization? Do we treat people right? These perceptions are primarily a reflection of the GM and I think Fletcher has represented this organization well in that regard. This is a difference maker not only for players but for how the team interacts with the community and local business as well. Secondly he has done a good job of bringing depth of talent to what was a very bare cupboard in regard to organizational depth and he has done so from various sources, foreign and domestic. He seems flexible in his thinking.

    • clarke16 - Jun 24, 2014 at 12:21 AM

      Excellent big picture perspective. Ther bottom line is this: Fletcher *get’s it* He knows what he inherited…he knows where he needs to go–and he is proving to have an elightened route to get there…

      As I’ve said many times–he’s no dummy. Make no mistake–the Wild will soon be among the league’s elite for a good three year window. You can book it.

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