Paul Fenton isn't promising sweeping changes, but the new Minnesota Wild general manager informed fans and media on Tuesday that he'll put his stamp on the team to make them a Stanley Cup contender.
"It's hard to take that next step, but that's what my job is going to be." Fenton told Wild.com before his introductory press conference on Tuesday. "Put some tweaks and trades together that possibly can help, maybe some free agents that more intricately define what I believe a team needs."
Fenton and head coach Bruce Boudreau plan to meet as soon as possible to mold their visions of what the team will look and play like, but Fenton has an idea of how he'd like to see the team play.
"We're going to continue to try building with players that can think the game, move the puck and certainly defend," he said. "I want to play an uptempo game and I'm imagining Bruce does as well, him coming from a skilled background. It's going to be a nice marriage."
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Two players Fenton will have to get work on immediately are defenseman Matt Dumba and forward Jason Zucker, both of whom are set to become restricted free agents after the season, meaning the Wild have the right to match any outside offer they receive.
Leipold wants a team that shows up in the playoffs
How much say Wild owner Craig Leiopold has in roster construction is unknown, but based on what he said Tuesday he'd like Fenton to get some players who step up in the big moments.
"You can be big but not play big,” Leipold said, making it clear that he isn't pleased with the Wild getting blasted by Winnipeg in the first round of the playoffs this season, and the same last season at the hands of St. Louis.
"We need to play heavier, perhaps. That doesn’t mean that has to be a new player, but it may be a new way that they need to play. If you look at the playoffs, it’s not just the big guys making the big hits. It’s guys who play big."