It has now been more than two weeks since the Wild surprisingly fired GM Paul Fenton after just one season at the helm. While the team is still in the stages of interviewing, Michael Russo of The Athletic reports (subscription required) that Bill Guerin has already had a second discussion with the team before some prospective candidates have even had their first. That suggests that the 48-year-old may be a frontrunner for the position.
While Guerin has never been an NHL GM before, he does have a strong base of experience to work on. He has been worked in several off-ice roles with Pittsburgh since 2011 ranging from a development coach to GM of AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton to assistant GM of the Penguins, a title he has held since 2014-15. He has worked under a pair of respected GMs in Ray Shero and Jim Rutherford so it’s fair to suggest that he might be ready for the challenge.
However, Minnesota went with a rookie in Fenton last time, one that team owner Craig Leipold had some familiarity with from their time in Nashville and that decision didn’t work out too well. Accordingly, some believe that the Wild may be better served with someone with some experience in an NHL GM role. With that in mind, Russo notes former Philadelphia GM Ron Hextall could also get a second look while former executives Mike Gillis and Brian Lawton have had brief discussions with the team so far. Former Boston and Edmonton GM Peter Chiarelli has also been linked to Minnesota’s search as was Carolina GM Don Waddell before he re-signed with Carolina.
Meanwhile, others that don’t have NHL GM experience that have garnered some level of consideration are believed to include New Jersey assistant GM Tom Fitzgerald, Los Angeles assistant GM Mike Futa, London Knights GM Mark Hunter, and Montreal assistant GM Scott Mellanby. NBC analyst Pierre McGuire, whose only assistant GM experience came with Hartford in 1993-94, is also believed to have had some discussions with the team though not a formal interview.
With training camps now less than a month away, it stands to reason that they’ll want to have someone in place well before that time. They still have to re-sign Kevin Fiala, a process that’s on hold at this point and there may be other opportunities for player movement closer to the start of training camp (and whenever some of the notable restricted free agents reach new deals). It looks like Guerin is a contender for the position although it also appears that the search is far from complete.