Only 14 months after concluding its search for a new general manager, the Wild is embarking on another one only six weeks ahead of training camp. A few possibilities:
Sean Burke: After interviewing with Seattle and being in contention for the Edmonton opening earlier this offseason, Burke could also end up on the Wild’s radar. The former goalie is scouting for the Montreal Canadiens but has added quite a bit of front-office experience to his résumé in recent years with Hockey Canada — including serving as GM of the 2018 Olympic team.
Tom Fitzgerald: The Devils’ AGM interviewed for the Wild GM job last year and could be back in the running this go-around. He’s crossed paths with owner Craig Leipold in the past, captaining Nashville during its first four seasons in the NHL when Leipold owned the Predators. After playing nearly 1,100 games, Fitzgerald retired and worked in player development and as an assistant coach before eventually joining management.
Ron Hextall: A former Vezina Trophy winner, Hextall was GM of the Flyers for four-and-one-half seasons before he was fired last year — ultimately getting replaced by Chuck Fletcher, whose exit from the Wild after 2017-18 paved the way for Fenton’s arrival. He also served as an assistant GM for the Flyers and Los Angeles Kings. That type of background could appeal to the Wild, but Hextall was criticized for his patience in retooling the Flyers — an approach that might give the Wild pause since it wants to get back to the playoffs next season.
Dean Lombardi: Experience will be an important factor considered by the Wild, and Lombardi has plenty of it. He was GM of the Sharks for seven seasons before taking over the Kings in 2006 and leading them to Stanley Cups in 2012 and 2014, a pedigree that could be enticing for a Wild franchise also seeking that kind of breakthrough. Lombardi joined the Flyers as a senior advisor after getting fired from the Kings in 2017. He also has ties to Minnesota, working as assistant general manager of the North Stars from 1988 to 1990.
Bill Zito: Like Fitzgerald, Zito also interviewed for the Wild’s vacancy last year. He’s been assistant GM of the Blue Jackets since 2013 — a job that’s required him to negotiate contracts, scout, evaluate players and manage the salary cap and budget. Zito has been praised for his scouting ability; he previously founded hockey agency Acme World Sports. But Zito’s footing in Columbus might be solid, as he added the titles senior vice president of hockey operations and alternate governor only last month.