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Wild owner: Chuck Fletcher's job as Wild general manager is safe


Minnesota Wild owner Craig Leipold wanted to put an end to rumors surrounding the team's general manager on Thursday, and it appears for now that he has done just that.

Despite Minnesota winning eight fewer games than they did in 2014-15 and tallying 13 less points, Liepold was clear that Chuck Fletcher's job is safe.

"Listen, I should put this to bed right now," Leipold told the Star Tribune. "There is absolutely no way Chuck is not going to be here next year. He is our guy. I continue to have a high level of confidence in Chuck and his staff and we're already talking about next year."

For weeks speculation about Fletcher's future has been running rampant, especially in the wake of the firing of former Wild head coach Mike Yeo and how Minnesota limped into the playoffs as the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference.

After two straight runs to the second round, the Wild find themselves facing elimination Friday night in Dallas, trailing the Stars 3-1 and prompting some to wonder if Fletcher could be the next to go.

The answer on Thursday as an "emphatic no."

During Fletcher's seven seasons on the job he has hired and fired both Yeo and Todd Richards as head coaches.

He signed Martin Havlat, Danny Heatley, Jason Pominville and Thomas Vanek to provide veteran leadership, but they haven't produced like he had hoped.

In fact, Vanek and Pominville both recorded career lows in goals this season.

The young core that includes Mikael Granlund, Charlie Coyle, Erik Haula and Jason Zucker hasn't been consistent either and his deal to bring in Devan Dubnyk to provide stability at goaltender didn't make Minnesota into the upper level contender many predicted they would be.

The Pioneer Press notes, though, that there's much less certainty about the future of the head coaching position.

Fletcher said in February that interim coach John Torchetti would be considered for the full-time gig, but if they Wild are eliminated Friday night, the newspaper says it seems unlikely that he would return in that role.

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