On Wednesday afternoon the Minnesota Wild announced that they had made Bill Guerin their fourth general manager in team history. Guerin won the job over other prospective candidates Ron Hextall and Scott Mellanby.
Guerin, 48, took to local radio Wednesday afternoon to talk about his new job. While he preached patience in regards to making any changes to his staff, the team, etc., he still has some pressing things he has to tend to before the regular season begins on Oct. 3.
Here are a few of the things he needs to take care of in the coming weeks as the new Wild general manager.
1. Get to know Bruce Boudreau.
The new Wild GM had yet to speak with Boudreau as of Wednesday afternoon, but you can imagine an initial phone call will come in the next couple of days. Boudreau is now entering his fourth season as the Wild head coach with his third different general manager, which in this day and age is a feat unto itself. But the fourth year of Boudreau is also the final year on his contract to serve as Wild head coach. One of the things Guerin will want to do first is get a sense of where he and Boudreau stand and see if there is a future between the two beyond this season.
2. Plan the draft scouting for 2020.
While there were no other changes immediately to the Wild front office, Guerin has to sit with his scouting team and quickly develop a plan for scouting the 2020 draft prospects. The Wild prospect pool is in dire need of talent, so getting a plan together quickly between Guerin and his scouts will be key for the success of Minnesota’s 2020 draft. Guerin did not previously have a hand in Pittsburgh’s drafting as assistant general manager, so it will be interesting to see where he goes with the draft and how he runs it as the general manager.
3. Talk with Jared Spurgeon on an extension.
The 29-year-old defenseman is entering the final year of his contract in 2019-20, and before Paul Fenton was let go last month, the former general manager did not do Guerin any favors when it came to negotiations. Guerin will no doubt want to get with Spurgeon’s agent Eustace King and see if the two sides can find common ground on an extension this season prior to the trade deadline. If no extension can be reached, look for Spurgeon to be moved before the deadline.
4. Get started on a relationship with Kirill Kaprizov.
Perhaps one of Paul Fenton’s correct moves as Wild general manager was flying out to Russia along with owner Craig Leipold and sitting down with the Wild’s star prospect and expressing their desire for him to come over following the 2019-20 season when his contract is up. With Fenton now removed from his post, Guerin will have to develop a relationship with the 22-year-old Kaprizov if he wants to get the prospect over in the United States for the 2020-21 season.
5. Rebuild the analytics department.
At this time last season, the Wild had a highly respected analytics department featuring Andrew Thomas and Alexandra Mandrycky, the founders of War on Ice. One year later, Thomas’ contract was not renewed and Mandrycky left to take a job in home city Seattle with the expansion franchise. As of right now, there is literally nothing left of the team’s analytics department. Why is this bad? The league is going to start using player tracking data this year, meaning there will be a large infusion of brand new data for teams to go through. Not having anyone to go through this data is not good, and Guerin will have to get new analytics people in place to go through the data.