By Brian Stensaas
Hawaii Gate 1 of Xcel Energy Center where it’s just been made official that Chuck Fletcher is the Wild’s new general manager.
Also, if you haven’t seen it, make sure to scroll to Chip’s previous blog about Tom Lynn staying on as an assistant GM.
We’ve got a good crowd out here in the lobby. Among the masses, I’ve spotted assistant coach Matt Shaw, goalie Niklas Backstrom, defenseman Brent Burns (his left arm in a sling) and a handful of other employees.
Prior to any remarks, Fletcher was presented a #09 team jersey after it was said a “new chapter, a new era” has begun for the team.
“What was good enough yesterday is not necessarily good enough today,” owner Craig Leipold said. He then called Fletcher the “obvious choice” for the job.
Here’s some of what Fletcher had to say this afternoon:
- On a coaching timeline, it is his first priority right now before free agency. He wants a coach with communication skills, leadership skills and someone who is “demanding but fair.” He also expressed that “experience is nice but not necessary.” He hopes to have someone in place by the draft, which is late next month.
- He affirmed that he wants a team with an “up-tempo, aggressive, fast style.” But the trap style is something every team uses, so Fletcher doesn not plan to completely eliminate it from here.
- Fletcher plans to reach out to pending free agent Marian Gaborik and agent Ron Salcer “in the near future.”
- He is open minded about what kind of front office and coaching staff he will hire, and plans to speak to every member.
- On his philosophy of putting the best team on the ice, Fletcher says it’s “drafting and developing” players, calling draft picks “gold to me.” Better drafts lead to a deeper system which leads to, in time, better trades.
- On managing expectations: “This has been my dream since realizing I was a really bad hockey player at age 8 … This was my way into the NHL … I’m ready for it, I’m not daunted by it at all.”