ESPN News Services
The Minnesota Wild have fired general manager Paul Fenton just over one year into his tenure with the club, it was announced Tuesday.
“After giving much thought to this difficult decision, I informed Paul today that he was not the right fit for our organization going forward,” owner Craig Leipold said in a statement. “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. I would like to thank Paul for his time with the Wild and WISh him and his family the best in the future.”
Fenton’s tenure was marked by the end of a six-year streak of making the playoffs and a disassembly of the once-promising core of forwards by trading Charlie Coyle, Mikael Granlund and Nino Niederreiter prior to the deadline.
Assistant general manager Tom Kurvers will serve as the acting GM until the team finds a replacement for Fenton. The team said a search for that replacement would begin immediately.
Fenton, 59, was hired as the Wild’s GM in May 2018 after spending the previous 12 seasons as an assistant general manager for the Nashville Predators under David Poile.
The Wild went 37-36-9 in their only season under Fenton, finishing last in the Central Division and missing the playoffs for the first time since 2012.
In less than 15 months with the Wild, Fenton made plenty of waves.
Though his first foray in free agency was relatively quiet, Fenton re-signed defenseman Matt Dumba (five years, $30 million) and left wing Jason Zucker (five years, $27.5 million) to long-term contracts. Then he traded Niederreiter to Carolina for Victor Rask, Coyle to Boston for Ryan Donato and a fourth-round draft pick and Mikael Granlund to Nashville for Kevin Fiala.
Coyle and Niederreiter had productive debuts with their new clubs, which didn’t help assuage any angst-filled fans frustrated that the 19-year-old franchise has not passed the second round of the playoffs since 2003.
Bruce Boudreau was brought back as head coach despite the drop in the standings. Then Fenton signed forward Mats Zuccarello to a five-year, $30 million deal with a full no-trade clause, as well as forward Ryan Hartman on a two-year, $3.8 million contract.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.