Please to be welcoming Bill Guerin as the new GM of the Minnesota Wild. Finally, someone who is not part of the rinse-wash-repeat cycle of coaches and GMs over the past eternity of the National Hockey League. More over than this is the fact that Guerin really has no ties to Minnesota at all and a very limited amount of time in a higher management role…which is why the fans and ownership of the Wild should be patient with Guerin’s process.
Guerin is coming into the Wild with a lot of money on the books with a lot of term left on the hefty contracts– including Mats Zuccarello’s new contract that was Paul Fenton’s last. In all honesty, the fruits of Guerin’s labor won’t be a quick turnaround and shouldn’t be seen as such either. He’s had a keen role in Pittsburgh’s two Cup runs as the assistant GM, while also trying to build up the younger players when he was in his player development role.
With a solid young core– like Ryan Donato, Joel Eriksson-Ek, Jordan Greenway, and Luke Kunin– there’s plenty to build off of and could create a helluva battle for a roster spot going into training camp. The youth needs to be served, as the Wild are the third oldest team in the league (29.3 years) and may need a shot in the arm from the younger players to get the team back on the playoff track.
That brings up what’s going to happen with Bruce Boudreau behind the bench. Many times, the GMs like to put their own people in the coaching spot and with one more year on Boudreau’s deal— he could pretty much be a lame duck coach this year and any kind of slip early in the season could see him moved along quicker than many may expect.
The biggest takeaway from all of this is new blood into the GM pool, though many may wonder why a guy with no experience and no direct ties to the area or organization would be put in that spot. Well, it’s simple– it’s something new. It’ll scare some people, sure, but at the same time– a fresh look is something that some teams (and in this case, the Wild ESPECIALLY) need moving forward.
It’s all about being patient. Most fans and team owners don’t know what that is anymore and are always in the “win now” kind of mindset. That’s fine for the start of it, but if there’s huge problems and the “win now” is not happening– it’s a good idea to step back, bring a fresher face into the fold, and let things happen as they will. Granted, Fenton was a fresh face from outside the organization with a solid reputation in the league for his role in Nashville and that turned out like garbage…but second time’s a charm, right??
While it might be a bit of a risk– it’s much better to go with this new face and see what they can do, than to hire the same old horses that were put out to pasture elsewhere and hope their kind of style fits in with the team.