Tag: Chuck Fletcher


Under Pressure: Devan Dubnyk


With a new six-year $26 million deal in his back pocket, Devan Dubnyk is under pressure to prove last season’s heroics were no fluke.

The 29-year-old led the Wild, who were sitting 12th in the Western Conference at the time of his trade from Arizona, to a third consecutive playoff berth.

Dubnyk made 39 appearances with Minnesota, including 38 consecutive starts, finishing with a 27-9-2 record to go along with five shutouts, a 1.78 G.A.A. and a .936 save percentage.

“It was nothing crazy, nothing extravagant. I’m a pretty simple goalie the way I play,” Dubnyk told the Star Tribune at the time of his signing. “The way we played as a group, there weren’t any miracles happening out there. We were playing the right way and for myself it was just being simple and strong and keeping goals tight. I wasn’t doing back flips out there and doing stuff that I’m not capable of continuing to do.

“I’m only 29 years old. I’m fully planning on continuing to get better as I go here.”

His spectacular season won him the Masterton Trophy for perseverance and saw him finish third in voting for the Vezina Trophy.

Head coach Mike Yeo is expecting a similar performance this season from the veteran goaltender.

“I’m going to ask the same of him that we asked from him last year when we made the trade for him,” coach Mike Yeo told NHL.com. “Obviously his numbers were heroic. What he did was, looking back on it, may seem heroic, but we asked him not to come in and try to be a hero.

“We didn’t need him to be a savior for our team. We needed him to do his job really well and we knew that we had a group that could play a good game in front of him to give him the support that he needed. It clicked.”

Dubnyk led the Wild to a six-game upset of the St. Louis Blues in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs stopping 66 of the final 68 shots he faced in the series. However, he went 0-4 with a 2.81 G.A.A. and a .901 save percentage in the four-game sweep at the hands of the Chicago Blackhawks in the second round.

“He’s entering the prime of his career. He’s had some good seasons (with the Edmonton Oilers) and had a great season this year,” GM Chuck Fletcher told the Star Tribune per NHL.com. “We’re not asking him to duplicate what he did this year every year. Maybe that’s not realistic, but we believe he can be a good goaltender in this league. He’s right at the stage of his career where he’s ready to take off.”

Related: Wild ’15-16 Outlook

Wild’s Backstrom, Vanek undergo surgery

Niklas Backstrom

Any plans the Minnesota Wild had to buyout the final year of Niklas Backstrom’s contract have been put in jeopardy.

The goaltender underwent elbow surgery following the season.

“He had a procedure done at the end of the season to clean up a problem that happened earlier in the year,” Chuck Fletcher told Michael Russo of the Star Tribune. “I honestly don’t know the full prognosis at this point, but it’s not a long-term thing and we’re hoping that he’ll be good to go in short order and healthy.”

With goaltender Devan Dubnyk likely headed for a new multi-year deal with Minnesota and Darcy Kuemper unable to go to the American Hockey League without clearing waivers, buying out Backstrom seems like a logical move.

Backstrom is owed $3.4 million for the 2015-16 season.

The NHL buyout period begins June 15 or 48 hours after the Stanley Cup Final (whichever is later) until June 30.

The 37-year-old appeared in 19 games for the Wild during the 2014-15 season posting a 5-7-3 record to go a long with a 3.04 G.A.A. and a .887 save percentage.

Forward Thomas Vanek underwent surgery in Philadelphia last week for a sports hernia. The 31-year-old is expected to require six weeks of recovery time.

“It bothered him for a lot of the second half,” Fletcher said. “We gave it some rest, but it didn’t seem to be getting better, so we opted for the surgical route. We expect him to be 100 percent by training camp.”

Vanek had 21 goals and 51 points in 80 regular season games. He was held to just four assists in 10 playoff games.

Wild extend Brodin: 6 years, $25 million


The Minnesota Wild have signed Jonas Brodin to a six-year contract extension the club announced Sunday.

According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, the deal is worth $25 million.

Brodin, 21, has appeared in 126 NHL games for the Wild scoring scoring 10 goals and 31 points.

The defenseman joined Minnesota as a 19-year-old in 2012-13 and was the league’s youngest blue liner at the time. He was named to the All-Rookie team following the season.

“We are very excited to get Jonas Brodin signed through the 2020-21 season,” said GM Chuck Fletcher in a statement. “He is one of the premier young defensemen in the NHL and has played a huge role on our team since entering the league as a 19-year-old. We’re confident that his game will continue to evolve in all areas and he will be a valuable part of our core for years to come.”

Brodin has an assist and a plus-5 rating through two games this season while averaging 22:25 in time on ice.

The Karlstad, Sweden native, who finished fourth in Calder Trophy voting in 2013,  was in the final year of his entry-level contract.

Brodin was Minnesota’s first-round selection (10th overall) at the 2011 NHL Draft.

Vanek, Stastny, Niskanen, Mitchell on Minnesota’s shopping list

Chuck Fletcher

Minnesota Wild GM Chuck Fletcher has a shopping list for free agency and it’s rather juicy.

Michael Russo of The Star Tribune reports the Wild have been in contact with the agents for forwards Thomas Vanek and Paul Stastny as well as defensemen Matt Niskanen and Willie Mitchell.

Chasing Vanek isn’t a surprise as we’ve heard about the mutual interest between the two for a while now. Russo says they may not be thinking long-term with the Austrian star forward.

Vanek, 30, the former Gophers star who lives in Stillwater, might have to consider a one- to three-year deal from the Wild if he wants to play at home in Minnesota.

The reason for that is because the Wild want to go heavily after Niskanen, another Minnesota native.

His breakout season with the Penguins has made him one of the hottest targets in free agency and he’d cure some power play ills for the Wild if he signed there.

The interest in Stastny makes sense because he’d give the Wild another solid player up the middle who can score as well as play strong defensively. Having him line up with Mikko Koivu as the top two centers would give them a very strong setup.

As for Mitchell, he’s a former member of the Wild and showed to be a strong contributor and mentor to younger blue liners like Slava Voynov and Alec Martinez with the Los Angeles Kings. With the host of young blue liners in the Wild’s stable, adding Mitchell would provide depth and a guy for others to learn from.

Report: Wild close to multiyear extension with coach Yeo

Mike Yeo

The Minnesota Wild are going to have coach Mike Yeo around a bit longer if reports are to be believed.

Michael Russo of The Star Tribune reports the Wild and Yeo are close to locking down a multiyear contract extension to keep him behind the bench in St. Paul.

Final details were being worked out Friday night, but all signs pointed toward an agreement soon, multiple sources said. Yeo, General Manager Chuck Fletcher and other members of the front office are due to leave for owner Craig Leipold’s home in the Bahamas on Saturday for meetings.

Yeo, 40, has been coach of the Wild for three seasons and two of those have seen the team in the playoffs. Each season has seen progression under his leadership as the team started hot but missed the postseason in his first year and advanced to the second round this season. The Wild have lost to the Chicago Blackhawks in the playoffs the past two seasons.

In three seasons, Yeo’s record is steady at 104-82-26 but it’s the improvements the team has made under him that has Wild leadership eager to keep him around.