Scoggins: When opportunity knocks, Leipold isn't afraid to listen

  • Article by: CHIP SCOGGINS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 8, 2013 - 11:21 PM

With trade for Pominville, Wild owner shows he’s ready to win now.

hide

Wild owner Craig Leipold opened his checkbook to sign Ryan Suter, center, and Zach Parise, right, last summer. The bold moves continued last week with the acquisition of Jason Pominville.

Photo: JERRY HOLT, Star Tribune file

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Craig Leipold doesn’t necessarily fancy himself an aggressive team owner.

“I consider myself to be an opportunist,” he said.

Whatever the proper description, Leipold’s insatiable thirst for winning has compelled the Wild owner to execute some bold transactions, regardless of cost. His latest shrewd move happened last week when the Wild agreed to give up two prospects, a first-round draft pick and a second-round pick to acquire Buffalo captain Jason Pominville at the trade deadline.

That hefty pricetag might have caused other owners to stand pat. Leipold pushed his chips to the center of the table.

This guy is all-in in his quest to make a deep postseason run this spring.

“In order to get a really great asset,” he said, “you have to trade great assets.”

Leipold represents precisely what sports fans should covet in an owner: a big thinker who is willing to commit money and resources to give his team the best chance to succeed; someone who is passionate about his product and not paralyzed by the unknown or an overarching fear that a deal might backfire.

Tired of seeing his team miss the playoffs and his arena not filled to capacity, Leipold committed nearly $200 million to sign Zach Parise and Ryan Suter last summer. And even though the Wild won seven consecutive games recently to position itself firmly in the playoff picture, the owner moved to bolster his roster rather than sit idle.

“It’s an opportunity that you go for when it presents itself,” Leipold said. “If you’re truly committed, you make that decision when you can because you don’t want to regret it if you don’t.”

Leipold huddled with General Manager Chuck Fletcher, his staff and the team’s pro scouts inside a San Jose hotel suite last Wednesday. Fletcher initiated the Pominville trade talk with Buffalo and then discussed compensation with his contingent, about 10 people in all.

This was not one of those easy, clear-cut decisions. The team held prospect Johan Larsson in high regard, and no team wants to part ways with a first-round pick. The safe play would have been to resist the temptation to mess with the team’s chemistry and future.

Fletcher went around the room and sought everyone’s opinion.

“It doesn’t have to be unanimous,” Leipold said. “Chuck makes the decision. But he gets the viewpoint of every single person in the room before he makes the decision.”

Everyone agreed that Pominville made sense in the short term, but the compensation caused some debate.

“I didn’t give it the thumbs down, let’s put that way,” Leipold joked.

The overall strength of the team’s farm system ultimately convinced Leipold and his top executives that the potential benefit was worth the sacrifice.

“We have all of these prospects that are waiting to come up and frankly how do we find room for six young prospects on a team that is pretty deep right now?” Leipold said. “We did give up a lot. There’s no question about that. But it was a guy that we wanted, and we felt he is filling a need that we have right now.”

Pominville makes the Wild a stronger, deeper team. He’s a first-line winger who brings experience, scoring and a proven track record in the NHL. His addition doesn’t guarantee a substantial return on Leipold’s investment or automatically elevate the Wild into the same class as Chicago, Anaheim or Pittsburgh. But Leipold’s actions sent another unmistakable message about his belief in his team, a message that should resonate inside the locker room.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Tennessee 12/18/14 7:25 PM
Jacksonville
Philadelphia 12/20/14 3:30 PM
Washington
San Diego 12/20/14 7:25 PM
San Francisco
Minnesota 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Baltimore 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Detroit 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Cleveland 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Atlanta 12/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Green Bay 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Kansas City 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 12/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 12/21/14 3:05 PM
St. Louis
Buffalo 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Oakland
Indianapolis 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Dallas
Seattle 12/21/14 7:30 PM
Arizona
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
Cincinnati
Atlanta 127 FINAL
Cleveland 98
Phoenix 111 FINAL
Charlotte 106
Dallas 117 FINAL
Detroit 106
Utah 105 FINAL
Miami 87
Orlando 92 FINAL
Boston 109
Brooklyn 89 FINAL
Toronto 105
Memphis 108 2nd OT 0:37
San Antonio 109
Milwaukee 48 3rd Qtr 10:04
Portland 45
Houston 33 2nd Qtr 7:47
Denver 45
Indiana 39 2nd Qtr 4:31
LA Clippers 44
Ottawa 2 FINAL
New Jersey 0
Boston 3 FINAL(OT)
Minnesota 2
Dallas 1 2nd Prd 9:50
Vancouver 0
Langston 65 FINAL
North Texas 78
Delaware State 72 FINAL
St Francis-NY 64
James Madison 72 FINAL
Ball State 52
SIU Edwardsville 65 FINAL
Campbell 70
St Francis-PA 67 FINAL
Duquesne 52
North Florida 77 FINAL
Florida State 93
Catawba 69 FINAL
George Mason 99
Ferrum 48 FINAL
High Point 106
Hampton 55 FINAL
Illinois 73
Gardner-Webb 65 FINAL
Jacksonville 68
Longwood 60 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 71
Arkansas State 69 FINAL
Miss State 55
Tennessee 72 FINAL
NC State 83
NC A&T 55 FINAL
Ohio State 97
Manhattan 56 FINAL
Pittsburgh 65
Robert Morris 57 FINAL
Toledo 83
Char Southern 58 FINAL
Wofford 64
Kennesaw St 90 FINAL
Youngstown St 84
Barber-Scotia 52 FINAL
NC Central 108
Detroit 70 FINAL
UCF 75
Liberty 70 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 73
TX A&M-CC 73 FINAL
Denver 83
Ark-Pine Bluff 61 FINAL
Houston 56
UT Martin 54 FINAL
Illinois State 64
Milligan 76 FINAL
Louisiana 115
Abilene Christian 44 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 83
USC Upstate 73 FINAL
Memphis 83
Alcorn State 56 FINAL
Murray State 94
Central Mich 80 FINAL
Northwestern 67
Georgia State 54 FINAL
Old Dominion 58
TX-Pan American 69 FINAL
Saint Louis 75
Ill-Chicago 46 FINAL
SMU 67
Texas State 60 FINAL
Stephen F Austin 66
SC State 39 FINAL
Texas Tech 101
Missouri State 70 FINAL
Tulsa 74
Chicago State 60 FINAL
Western Ky 75
Morehead State 50 FINAL
Green Bay 66
Northern Colorado 82 FINAL
Nebraska Omaha 92
Winthrop 62 FINAL
Auburn 80
New Mexico St 55 FINAL
Baylor 66
San Diego St 60 1st OT 0:52
Cincinnati 65
Eastern Mich 46 FINAL
Michigan State 66
Loyola Marymount 58 FINAL
Stanford 67
Incarnate Word 82 FINAL
Grand Canyon 80
Northeastern 51 2nd Half 5:50
Cal Poly 47
Central Arkansas 47 2nd Half 11:38
New Mexico 52
Howard 31 2nd Half 11:59
Pepperdine 36
Portland 29 2nd Half
UNLV 28
CS-Northridge 8 1st Half 13:59
Oregon 6
Grambling St 6 1st Half 10:21
Washington 19
Nevada 12/20/14 10:00 AM
Louisiana
Utah State 12/20/14 1:20 PM
Texas-El Paso
(23) Utah 12/20/14 2:30 PM
Colorado State
Western Mich 12/20/14 4:45 PM
Air Force
South Alabama 12/20/14 8:15 PM
Bowling Green
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
Memphis
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Rice
Western Carolina 79 FINAL
UNC-Asheville 66
(21) Miss State 66 FINAL
Louisiana 51
(25) DePaul 109 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 84
Liberty 64 FINAL
NC State 67
Elon 77 FINAL
Campbell 51
Akron 73 FINAL
UCF 64
Richmond 77 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 67
Montana 70 FINAL
Seattle 64
(7) Stanford 46 FINAL
Chattanooga 54
Florida A&M 69 FINAL
Southern U 80
Oklahoma 72 FINAL
(13) Duke 92
Savannah State 56 FINAL
Auburn 62
Northern Colorado 43 FINAL
South Florida 84
Youngstown St 73 FINAL
Robert Morris 65
Siena 75 FINAL
Sacred Heart 65
Vermont 63 FINAL
St Francis-NY 61
(1) South Carolina 69 FINAL
Hampton 49
Fla Gulf Coast 91 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 46
Texas Southern 92 FINAL
Houston Baptist 80
Northwestern 88 FINAL
UNLV 84
NC A&T 70 FINAL
Appalachian St 72
NC Central 52 FINAL
Coastal Carolina 67
Drexel 50 FINAL
Quinnipiac 74
Cincinnati 52 FINAL
Northern Ky 66
Alabama State 53 FINAL
Georgia Tech 77
Morehead St 69 FINAL
USC Upstate 75
Arkansas State 59 FINAL
Kent State 44
American Univ 60 FINAL
Manhattan 52
UNC Greensboro 60 FINAL
St Bonaventure 78
Arkansas-Monticello 56 FINAL
Northwestern St 61
Prairie View 70 FINAL
Sam Houston St 51
McNeese State 59 FINAL
(3) Texas 76
Yale 90 FINAL
Wagner 65
Oakland 61 FINAL
TX A&M-CC 54
Eastern Kentucky 62 FINAL
Alabama A&M 56
SIU-Edwardsville 47 FINAL
Northern Ill 69
McMurry 25 FINAL
TX-Arlington 82
Portland 65 FINAL
Eastern Washington 72
North Texas 22 2nd Half 11:51
San Francisco 38
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: Who is your favorite pro sports coach in the Twin Cities?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close