Wild GM Fletcher desperate, and other teams know it

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 19, 2012 - 6:33 AM

The Wild's injuries and poor play make it that much more difficult for the GM to add a skilled forward.

hide

Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher

Photo: David Joles, Star Tribune file

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

TORONTO - As the Wild aired things out in a team meeting in hopes of easing tension that has infiltrated the sinking team, and as the Wild hit the ice at the Toronto Maple Leafs practice facility in hopes of ending a 10-game road winless streak Thursday against the Leafs ... Chuck Fletcher was on the phone.

The Wild general manager was ducking behind signage, slipping into hallways, finding quiet spots in quiet areas -- his Blackberry always at his ear.

With the Wild having lost 14 of 16 games and having fallen out of the top eight for the first time since Oct. 31, Fletcher was busy trying to unearth ways to shake the struggling Wild out of a one-month funk that shows no sign of ending.

"I think I'm doing a disservice to our players if I'm not trying to give them the ammunition to make the playoffs," Fletcher said. "But the way we're going now, one player is not going to all of a sudden turn everything around, too. We need to get back to what we were, and we need to become the team that we were earlier in the sense of being a team.

"We'll keep looking to upgrade the talent. We'll move whatever we have to move if it makes sense. Not everybody's untouchable. And certainly we have a lot of prospects we're not going to move, but there's assets we have that we can move to make our team better if we can find the right fit."

The question is whether Fletcher can find that "right fit" and if it can happen before it's too late. The Wild looks to be a fractured team, and frustration has set in (see Cal Clutterbuck's four minor penalties Tuesday in Philadelphia).

Fletcher feels the pressure to do something quickly, but he also said he can't force something out of desperation.

"You can't wave a magic wand and have a deal pop up," Fletcher said. "The scary thing is you can make big mistakes when you feel pressure to do something. ... So you've got to be really smart and if something's available, you try to do it.

"We'll keep working the phones. I think teams are aware of what we're trying to accomplish, and I think I'm pretty aware of what a lot of teams are trying to accomplish. I'll just keep looking for fits."

The trade deadline is Feb. 27. It seems most teams in the NHL are looking for top-six forwards, and that especially includes the Wild, which is missing injured Mikko Koivu, Guillaume Latendresse and Pierre-Marc Bouchard.

That means several teams are competing over the same players, and in a league where most teams are fighting for a playoff spot, that makes for only a few teams willing to part with impact players.

Fletcher added that teams feel they have leverage on him because of the Wild's injury situation and plummet in the standings.

"That's why if you try to force something or rush it, you end up making a mistake," he said. "But we're looking."

The Anaheim Ducks have dangled top forward Bobby Ryan, whom Fletcher played a part in drafting. The Buffalo Sabres, having struggles similar to the Wild's, are shopping Drew Stafford, Derek Roy and Brad Boyes. The Rangers are offering Wojtek Wolski and Erik Christensen. In terms of rentals available now, Columbus is willing to trade Vaclav Prospal, Edmonton Ales Hemsky and Carolina Tuomo Ruutu.

"We wanted to try to add an offensive player when we were healthy, so with the guys we have out, it creates a little more urgency," Fletcher said. "We probably weren't an elite offensive team to begin with, and now we're asking players to play in roles they're not normally going to play in."

Referring to centers Matt Cullen and Kyle Brodziak and minor league callups Warren Peters, David McIntyre, Casey Wellman and injured Jarod Palmer, Fletcher said, "There's been a lot of pressure on certain players to really step up, and our overall team game has slipped as a result."

  • related content

  • Koivu not ruling out All-Star appearance

    Wednesday January 18, 2012

    The NHL has agreed to delay for a few days naming a replacement for injured Mikko Koivu in the All-Star Game because the Wild captain still hopes to play.

  • Wild-Toronto game preview

    Wednesday January 18, 2012

    Preview: Once an NHL-best 10-3-2 on the road, the Wild, losers of 14 of 16 (2-10-4), is now 10-11-4 thanks to an 0-8-2 road slide (10 goals). The road winless...

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Los Angeles - LP: B. Wilson 7 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: J. Grimm 8
Detroit - WP: M. Scherzer 3 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: J. Shields 2
Philadelphia - WP: J. Williams 3 FINAL
Oakland - LP: D. Otero 0
Toronto - WP: M. Stroman 6 FINAL
NY Yankees - LP: C. Capuano 3
Arizona - LP: T. Cahill 1 FINAL
Colorado - WP: E. Butler 5
Boston - LP: R. De La Rosa 2 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: C. Tillman 7
Milwaukee - WP: Z. Duke 1 FINAL
Pittsburgh - LP: M. Melancon 0
Washington - WP: J. Zimmermann 3 FINAL
Miami - LP: J. Cosart 2
NY Mets - WP: J. Niese 4 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: M. Minor 2
Chicago WSox - LP: H. Noesi 1 FINAL
Tampa Bay - WP: C. Archer 3
Cleveland - WP: T. House 7 FINAL
Minnesota - LP: T. May 3
Seattle - LP: C. Young 1 FINAL
Houston - WP: D. Keuchel 10
Cincinnati - LP: M. Leake 4 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: J. Motte 8
San Francisco - LP: Y. Petit 2 FINAL
San Diego - WP: A. Cashner 3
Texas - LP: C. Lewis 5 FINAL
LA Angels - WP: J. Weaver 8
San Diego 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Dallas 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Houston 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Baltimore 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Green Bay 12:00 PM
Detroit
Indianapolis 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Oakland 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 3:05 PM
Arizona
Denver 3:25 PM
Seattle
Kansas City 3:25 PM
Miami
Pittsburgh 7:30 PM
Carolina
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
Washington
Connecticut 14 FINAL
So Florida 17
Old Dominion 45 FINAL
Rice 42
Troy 0 FINAL
(13) Georgia 66
Georgia Tech 27 FINAL
Virginia Tech 24
Eastern Mich 14 FINAL
(11) Michigan State 73
Iowa 24 FINAL
Pittsburgh 20
Bowling Green 17 FINAL
(19) Wisconsin 68
Maryland 34 FINAL
Syracuse 20
Tulane 13 FINAL
Duke 47
Hawaii 12 FINAL
Colorado 21
Marshall 48 FINAL
Akron 17
North Carolina 41 FINAL
East Carolina 70
Army 21 FINAL
Wake Forest 24
Virginia 33 FINAL
(21) BYU 41
(6) Texas A&M 58 FINAL
SMU 6
Rutgers 31 FINAL
Navy 24
Central Mich 10 FINAL
Kansas 24
Utah 26 FINAL
Michigan 10
Florida 21 FINAL
(3) Alabama 42
Louisville 34 FINAL
FIU 3
Fla Atlantic 19 FINAL
Wyoming 20
Indiana 31 FINAL
(18) Missouri 27
San Jose St 7 FINAL
Minnesota 24
Texas State 35 FINAL
Illinois 42
Massachusetts 7 FINAL
Penn State 48
Georgia State 14 FINAL
Washington 45
Appalachian St 20 FINAL
Southern Miss 21
Miss State 34 FINAL
(8) LSU 29
Northern Ill 14 FINAL
Arkansas 52
Middle Tennessee 17 FINAL
Memphis 36
Utah State 14 FINAL
Arkansas State 21
Miami-Ohio 24 FINAL
Cincinnati 31
Idaho 24 FINAL
Ohio U 36
Ball State 23 FINAL
Toledo 34
(14) So Carolina 48 FINAL
Vanderbilt 34
(4) Oklahoma 45 FINAL
West Virginia 33
Ga Southern 28 FINAL
South Alabama 6
UNLV 14 FINAL
Houston 47
Miami-Florida 31 FINAL
(24) Nebraska 41
New Mexico 38 FINAL
New Mexico St 35
(22) Clemson 17 FINAL
(1) Florida State 23
California 45 FINAL
Arizona 49
San Diego St 7 FINAL
Oregon State 28
(2) Oregon 38 FINAL
Washington St 31
Louisiana 9 FINAL
Boise State 34
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(25) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(12) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:00 AM
NC State
Duke 9/27/14 2:00 AM
Miami-Florida
North Carolina 9/27/14 2:00 AM
(22) Clemson
Texas-El Paso 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(20) Kansas State
Tennessee 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Vanderbilt 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Kentucky
Wyoming 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Northwestern 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
TCU 9/27/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Iowa 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Tulane 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
So Florida 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Colorado State 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Western Mich 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
Maryland 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Indiana
Akron 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/27/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Arkansas 9/27/14 2:30 PM
(6) Texas A&M
Kent State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Virginia
Western Ky 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Minnesota 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Wake Forest 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Louisville
FIU 9/27/14 2:30 PM
UAB
Miami-Ohio 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Colorado 9/27/14 3:00 PM
California
Louisiana Tech 9/27/14 3:00 PM
(5) Auburn
Texas 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Kansas
Temple 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Connecticut
(16) Stanford 9/27/14 3:15 PM
Washington
TX-San Antonio 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
South Alabama 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
Cincinnati 9/27/14 5:00 PM
(23) Ohio State
Rice 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
(18) Missouri 9/27/14 6:00 PM
(14) So Carolina
Boise State 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Air Force
Central Mich 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
Troy 9/27/14 6:00 PM
ULM
New Mexico St 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(8) LSU
Memphis 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(10) Ole Miss
Texas State 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Washington St 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Utah
(9) Notre Dame 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Syracuse
(7) Baylor 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Iowa State
UNLV 9/27/14 7:00 PM
San Diego St
Illinois 9/27/14 8:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
Oregon State 9/27/14 9:30 PM
(17) USC
Nevada 9/27/14 9:30 PM
San Jose St
Vancouver FC 0 FINAL
Portland 3
Houston 0 FINAL
Philadelphia 0
New England 0 FINAL
Columbus 1
San Jose 0 FINAL
Montreal 2
Seattle 1 FINAL
Red Bull New York 4
D.C. 3 FINAL
Chicago 3
FC Dallas 1 FINAL
Los Angeles 2
Toronto 40 FINAL
Brt Columbia 23
Edmonton 23 FINAL
Hamilton 25
Calgary 12:00 PM
Montreal
Ottawa 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Which local pro team are you most excited about?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close