The Minnesota Wild are aggressively searching for their next GM after unceremoniously firing Paul Fenton just 14 months into his tenure and two more interesting names have popped up. Michael Russo of The Athletic (subscription required) confirms that the team interviewed Pittsburgh Penguins assistant GM Bill Guerin on Monday after previously receiving permission from the club to do so, but it is the second name that raises an eyebrow. Don Waddell also interviewed for the job, despite still being the GM of the Carolina Hurricanes. Russo reports however that Waddell is technically a free agent given that his contract with the Hurricanes expired on June 30th and he has actually not yet been signed to a new deal by Carolina owner Tom Dundon.
Waddell has been with the Hurricanes for several years and when Ron Francis was let go in the spring of 2018 he moved from the business side over to hockey operations and assumed control. Carolina found immediate success under Waddell and went all the way to the Eastern Conference Final, notably with former Minnesota forward Nino Niederreiter riding shotgun after he was snatched from Fenton in exchange for Victor Rask. Interviewing a current GM from another team—even one without a valid contract—is so uncommon that it is not clear how a situation like that would unfold if the Wild decided that Waddell was their man.
Guerin meanwhile has been an up-and-coming GM candidate for quite a while but doesn’t have the kind of experience that owner Craig Leipold hinted he was looking for when explaining the Fenton move. He has served as assistant GM in Pittsburgh for the last five years and took over as GM of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton when Jason Botterill moved on to Buffalo in 2017.