According to a report from Minnesota Wild insider Michael Russo of The Athletic, Wild owner Craig Leipold met with former Toronto Maple Leafs and Vancouver Canucks general manager Dave Nonis yesterday to interview Nonis for the team’s vacant GM position.
Russo also reported that Paul Fenton assistant GM of the Nashville Predators, Tom Fitzgerald assistant GM of the New Jersey Devils, Bill Zito assistant GM of the Columbus Blue Jackets, John Ferguson Jr. asstant GM of the Boston Bruins and Brett Flahr the Wild current assistant GM and acting GM are also being considered for the position. Russo believes that Pittsburgh Penguins assistant GM Bill Guerin could receive an interview, as well.
As for Nonis, the former Leafs and Canucks executive has spent the past three seasons as a right hand man and special assignment scout for Anaheim Ducks GM Bob Murray. Prior to that Nonis was named the youngest GM in Canucks history at age 37 when he succeeded his mentor Brian Burke in 2004. It was Nonis who acquired franchise goaltender Roberto Luongo from the Florida Panthers for the Canucks, but he was dismissed from the team after two consecutive failed seasons. Nonis then followed Burke to Toronto as an assistant GM where he would succeed Burke once again as team’s GM in 2013. After a truly horrific offseason in which Nonis signed free agent David Clarkson bust and gave up huge assets for the likes of Jonathan Bernier and David Bolland, Nonis was relieved of his duties in Toronto. He’s been with the Ducks organization ever since.
The Wild, of course, dismissed former GM Chuck Fletcher late last month following another disappointing opening round series playoff loss to the Winnipeg Jets.
Whomever Leipold elects to hire as the team’s next GM, he’ll have his work cut out for him. Besides determining what to do with head coach Bruce Boudreau, the Wild’s new GM will need to negotiate new deals for pending free agents Jason Zucker and Matt Dumba. With aging core players like Devan Dubnyk, Ryan Suter, Zach Parise and Mikko Koivu all signed long term and with with the team’s next generation of players like Mikael Granlund, Nino Niederreiter, Charlie Coyle and Jonas Brodin all signed to big money contracts, there’s little room for flexibility on the team’s roster.