Wild fire general manager Paul Fenton

Fenton lasted just 14 months on the job in Minnesota

Brayton Wilson
July 30, 2019 - 1:48 pm

Photo: Bruce Bennett - Getty Images

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In a surprise move out of left field on Tuesday, the Minnesota Wild have relieved Paul Fenton of his duties as general manager.

Michael Russo from The Athletic was the first to report the shocking news:

Fenton was hired by the Wild to be their general manager 14 months ago after spending the previous 19 years with the Nashville Predators organization.

In his only season as Wild general manager, Fenton's team went 37-36-9 with 83 points, which was good for dead last in the Central Division.

During that time, Fenton moved on from several long-time players in the organization including forwards Charlie Coyle, Mikael Granlund and Nino Niederreiter. Among the notable players that the 59-year-old was able to acquire during his tenure includes forwards Ryan Donato, Kevin Fiala and Victor Rask.

In his first round of free agency in 2018, Fenton went on to sign depth players like forwards J.T. Brown, Eric Fehr, and Matt Hendricks, as well as defenseman Greg Pateryn.

This summer, Fenton made a splash on the open market by signing 31-year-old Mats Zuccarello to a five-year, $30 million contract on July 1. He also locked up former first round pick Ryan Hartman to a two-year deal this offseason with an average annual value of $1.9 million.

However, Fenton has done little to nothing to show that the roster for the 2019-2020 season is a significant improvement over this past season's roster.

Fenton has also tried to move forward Jason Zucker over the past several months, but has failed to pull off a trade with another team. His proposed trade of Zucker to the Calgary Flames fell apart just before the NHL Trade Deadline back in February, while a trade to the Pittsburgh Penguins was nixed earlier this offseason by Phil Kessel with the use of his modified no-trade clause.

According to Russo, he reports that, "No one incident caused the ousting, but the lingering fallout from a series of arguably bad trades and other personnel matters, along with internal issues that, sources said, created low morale throughout the hockey operations department and dressing room forced [owner Craig> Leipold to make the move before Fenton could even manage his second season with the Wild."

The Wild and Leipold will immediately begin the search for the team's fourth general manager in franchise history.

In the meantime, assistant general manager Tom Kurvers will serve as the interim general manager.

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