Craig Leipold today announced #mnwild has relieved General Manager Paul Fenton of his duties.— Minnesota Wild (@mnwild) July 30, 2019
Until a replacement is found, Assistant General Manager Tom Kurvers will serve as acting General Manager: https://t.co/LeAbbjScHM pic.twitter.com/fTBl8NA9Hr
Owner Craig Leipold thanked Fenton for his time with the Wild, but announced via press release that he was not the right fit for the organization. Last year was the first time the Wild missed the postseason since the 2011-12 campaign.
“After giving much thought to this difficult decision, I informed Paul today that he was not the right fit for our organization going forward. I believe we have a good hockey team, a team that will compete for a playoff spot this year, and I look forward to hiring a General Manager that will help us win a Stanley Cup.”
Before the Wild confirmed the report, Russo published a lengthy piece with details and insight on the 14-month relationship between Fenton and the Wild.
Fenton was hired in May of last year, after 12 years as an assistant general manager with the Nashville Predators.
“Leipold ultimately hired Fenton despite the red flags of him being turned down for several NHL GM posts over the past decade, including with the Wild in 2009,” Russo wrote.
The timing suggests this firing wasn’t caused by one particular incident, but an overall evaluation of his short time in office. Russo explains that “arguably bad trades and other personnel matters, along with internal issues that, sources said, created low morale throughout the hockey operations department and dressing room forced Leipold to make the move before Fenton could even manage his second season with the Wild.”
Some of Fenton’s most notable moments as GM include his mid-season trade between Nino Niederreiter and Victor Rask, which proved to be disappointing when Niederreiter thrived in Carolina netting 30 points in 36 games while Rask registered three points in 23 games with the Wild.
Fenton also moved Charlie Coyle at the trade deadline for Ryan Donato, and Coyle went on to be an essential part of Boston’s Stanley Cup Final run, netting 16 points in the offseason alone.
With @RussoHockey reporting that Paul Fenton has been fired as GM of the #Wild after only 1 year, 2 months & 8 days, here's a recap of what he did as GM in that time.— CapFriendly (@CapFriendly) July 30, 2019
Players Signed: 32
Total Contract Value: $144,054,125
Players Drafted: 16
Trades: 12https://t.co/Y4e36qZ9bO pic.twitter.com/obiEmDJ2oV
Russo added that sources say “there were numerous accounts of unhappy employees throughout the organization and countless other turbulent incidents” that led Leipold to forgo giving Fenton a second chance at the role.
Apparently it had been clear for weeks that the GM was not fitting into the culture that Leipold and Wild CEO Matt Majka had created within the organization.
Additionally, the Wild will immediately begin a search for a new GM as published in their press release.
“The search for a new General Manager will begin immediately. Until a replacement is found, Assistant General Manager Tom Kurvers will serve as acting General Manager.”
Ron Hextall, Dean Lombardi, Garth Snow and even Peter Chiarelli are among experienced former NHL GMs who might have varied degrees of interest in the job, according to Russo.
Have to think there will be more than one contender, but word is MIN has already reached out for permission to speak to Ron Hextall for newly vacant GM position.— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) July 30, 2019
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