ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — The Minnesota Wild made some news on Monday, firing General Manager Chuck Fletcher after nine years leading the franchise.
WCCO’s David McCoy tells us why owner Craig Leipold felt this was a move he had to make…
Chuck Fletcher took a team that hadn’t been to the playoffs in four years and hadn’t won a playoff series since 2003, and put them in the playoffs the last six seasons. He delivered the big signings of Ryan Suter, Zach Parise and Bruce Boudreau, but only two playoff series wins. And with this owner, in this market, that’s simply not good enough.
“In our new practice facility we have a motto. It’s the first thing you see when you walk in the door. And it is: ‘Good is not good enough,'” Leipold said.
Wild owner Craig Leipold believes this is a team on the brink of competing for a Stanley Cup. But that he had to do something, to push them over the hump.
“Right now I just don’t see us with this team getting to the championship series. I just don’t see it. So, I think we’re a good team. I really do. And I just talked to our players about this. They’re a good team. But they’re not good enough right now,” Leipold said.
Leipold says a new set of eyes is needed to evaluate the roster, but that it needs to be tweaked, not torn apart.
“This is not a rebuild,” Leipold said.
But the players recognize the window is closing.
“I think everyone has to have that mindset that it’s not OK just to make the playoffs. I think we’ve taken steps in the right direction, by making the playoffs. But I feel we’re not getting any younger, and the time’s running out,” defenseman Ryan Suter said.
How the Wild and their new general manger navigate through this all important off-season will be vital for so many reasons, and so many core players already tied up in long-term contracts.