Wild Fire GM Fenton
The Minnesota Wild today fired Paul Fenton after just one year as their general manager. Assistant GM Tom Kurvers takes over on an interim basis until a full-time replacement is found.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: On the one hand, Wild owner Craig Leipold believed the club wasn’t heading in the right direction under Fenton and made a change now rather than drag things out another season. In breaking this news, The Athletic’s Michael Russo reported sources claiming there were accounts of unhappy employees and other turbulent incidents behind the scenes during Fenton’s tenure. Combine that with the inconsistent results from his roster moves, and it’s little wonder Leipold opted for a change.
On the other hand, Leipold should’ve made that decision at season’s end rather than let Fenton control their decisions at the 2019 Draft and during free agency.
Fenton joined the Wild as GM last year to great fanfare. He’d worked for years as assistant GM with the Nashville Predators and had a hand in building that club into a Stanley Cup contender. He was expected to change the Wild’s culture and help them shake the tag of playoff underachievers.
He was very active in the trade market last season, trading away core players Mikael Granlund, Charlie Coyle, and Nino Niederreiter for Kevin Fiala, Ryan Donato, and Victor Rask. He also tried and failed twice to trade winger Jason Zucker, the most recent being the attempt to ship him to Pittsburgh for Phil Kessel. His efforts, however, failed to improve the Wild, who missed the playoffs for the first time since 2012.
Fenton’s replacement will have some important decisions to make. Veteran defenseman Jared Spurgeon is a year away from UFA eligibility. Russo reported this weekend veteran winger Zach Parise is concerned over the state of the club and Fenton looked into trying to trade him. The new GM could also insist upon bringing in his own people in the front office and behind the bench.