The search for the next Wild General Manager is in full gear as it has been reported that Wild owner, Craig Leipold has been in contact with both Ron Hextall and Peter Chiarelli.
Neither should be considered anything but candidates at this point which makes sense with the results of the previous search just over a year ago fresh in the mind of Leipold. That process included numerous candidates and interviews, however, the first and leading candidate, Paul Fenton, was the choice from the start.
Hextall and Charielli were not part of that process of course as they were in their previous roles as GM with the Flyers and Oilers respectively.
Leipold must do his due diligence and at the very least contact both former GMs. As far as moving either along in the process that is a whole other story.
Hextall did a very good job in Philadelphia after inheriting an absolute mess of a cap situation. Hextall was able to rid the team of many of those contracts that hampered the Flyers and built a very strong pool of prospects and going talent in the process.
Hextall's problems were in the way he conducted business within the organization, not in how he built the team. That is what has been reported and some or all of it may be true we do not know.
What we do know is that Hextall has a strong track record of knowing how to build a successful team through his early front office years in Philly then to his assistant GM role in LA and back to running the show with the Flyers.
Chiarelli on the other hand has the looming cloud over his head, of dealing each of the first two players selected in the 20010 NHL draft. Dealing Tyler Seguin and Taylor Hall for marginal return value tells us a lot about Chiarelli, however his failings over the last four years in Edmonton tell the real story.
He failed with a team loaded with talent and prospects from which to build, enough ssid.
There will be more candidates and the process will be thorough as this is a critical juncture for the Wild. They are not in a position to rebuild and they have some very good young talent that will be a big part of the very near future
Kargil Kaprizov is the best player not playing in the NHL and he needs to be the number one focus of the next Wild GM. Getting him over here following his KHL contract expiration at the end of the upcoming season is paramount.
There are pieces in place and some veterans that have contracts that are not so cap friendly. A creative mind is needed here and one that can both get the respect of his fellow GMs and make legitimate deals and not waver like Fenton has done.
Not to say that all of Fenton's dealings were bad because with the exception of the Niederreiter Rask deal the Wild actually are in a better situation thanks in large part to the other trades Fenton made.
Busy days ahead for Leipold...