Paul Fenton was a disaster as a professional hockey general manager. Minnesotans and sports franchises in Minnesota are notoriously patient with their organizational leadership, and he was booted from the helm of the Wild so quickly, it resonated across the entire sports community.
Make no mistake, he was a disaster that the Wild may struggle to dig out from under for a while. I think most hockey fans would much rather have Nino Neiderreiter on the roster than Victor Rask. If they were cash strapped and getting older, I find it hard to believe they would turn their attention to Mats Zuccarello for a long term deal.
The Wild’s problems extend further than those that Fenton established. Zach Parise’s contract didn’t pay off during his prime, and now it’s an albatross versus the salary cap. What I’m saying is that Fenton didn’t ruin the Wild. They were on their way downhill already, but he didn’t ruin them, and that should at least keep his resume from the bottom of the trash pile.
Without question, he made one good trade, even if it didn’t seem like it, necessarily, at the time. He acquired Kevin Fiala, who was white hot as the season progressed, in exchange for Mikael Granlund, who wasn’t ever that electric for the Predators, and is probably on his way out of Nashville next season.
Fiala came from Nashville, as I said, just like Paul Fenton. Fenton knew there was something more to come from Kevin Fiala, and the 50 points he has posted through 60+ games has proved him right. Not only that, but Granlund, who was likely not in Minnesota’s long term plans, turned into a pumpkin in Nashville. It was a brilliant trade for the Wild. Fenton must know something about player evaluation and development, right?
But definitely don’t make him a GM again.