Guerin Seeks Culture Change for Minnesota Wild: Not Personal, It’s Business

With the departure of longtime captain Mikko Koivu and fan-favorite Eric Staal, Bill Guerin’s working to build a new Culture for the Minnesota Wild.

Minnesota Wild GM Bill Guerin is seeing what many a Wild fan has seen since the last few years of former GM Chuck Fletcher’s tenure. Or could it be since the disappointing 2003-2004 letdown, after the great 2003 playoff run?

Whatever the case, the malaise that has followed this once extremely promising franchise has drawn the ire of Bill Guerin, and it’s about time somebody finally said what needed to be said and followed it with action.

Regardless of what you may think of bidding adieu to team leaders Mikko Koivu and Eric Staal, or receiving Marcus Johansson in return, there is a method to the madness.

“We have some younger guys in our room that need to step up and take more of a leadership role. I think Eric is a guy that they relied on heavily for that, but he’s not going to be there, so who’s going to do it?” Said Guerin during the zoom conference regarding the Staal for Johansson trade. Listen to it here: Minnesota Wild Pondcast.

Guerin on the “Straight From the Source” Podcast by Michael Russo, that was published on August 12th, spoke for many a frustrated Wild fan.

“I’ve got to figure out, what’s the issue? Why have we been falling short? Teams are good, the guys play hard, but there is something rooted here that’s not working.”

“It’s not just trading players, and changing the GM, it’s something in the way we operate every day, it’s something in the culture, and we need to change it”

Another way to look at this is what this 30 plus year sports fan and twelve-year podcast host would call the “Bill Belichick” approach. Remember when the Minnesota Vikings reacquired Randy Moss in 2010 for a 2011 third-round pick, from Belichick’s Patriots? We all thought, “Wow, why would the Patriots give up Moss for only a third-rounder?”

Within weeks of this trade, us same fans were much more worried about the 2011 third-rounder we threw away. Moss was cooked, and Belichick knew it before anyone else.  Over many years, we have seen the “hooded legend” dump players suddenly, and he has pretty much never been wrong.

As last season progressed, Eric Staal seemed slower and slower, to a point he was almost invisible. Somehow, someway, Staal’s points started to build up and as Kevin Fiala truly began to take off, Staal would reap the benefits, being on the top line together, especially in the post-season.

The Eric Staal for Marcus Johansson trade looks a lot like something Belichick would do, as there is a strong possibility here that Staal’s skating at the very least is in a word, cooked. Johansson is no amazing pickup, but he is younger, faster, and has shown some promise, particularly before he got to Buffalo.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved Eric Staal while he was here, I only wish he was here many years ago and stayed this whole time, but that’s the story of our lives.

The chances that Guerin re-explores the Zach Parise to New York Islanders trade possibilities are high, let’s just hope the cap recapture nonsense doesn’t rear its ugly head one day… Read about that here: Hockey Wilderness

Like I’ve mentioned on my Podcast, Parise looked like he had aged a good five years during the lockdown or “furlough” as I like to call it, and his numbers or lack thereof showed versus Vancouver.

Belichick anyone?

God bless Zack Parise, he is one of the most memorable players in the history of this franchise and his effort will never be something to take for granted, but father time remains undefeated…

The coming weeks and months will be very interesting to say the least because no one is expecting the current roster to be fully intact.

Will Jordan Greenway, Luke Kunin, or even Joel Eriksson Ek be packaged in a deal to help the Wild move up to get Marco Rossi, Cole Perfetti, or even Quinton Byfield?

We cannot finish this without talking about the ultra-talented but inconsistent Matt Dumba in trade possibilities. For one, the Calgary Flames are interested, and Dumba grew up there. Should the Flames offer Sean Monohan, a legit number one center in this league, I have got to believe Guerin would pull the trigger.

You can read about more Matt Dumba trade ideas in this nice read from Site Expert Lake Martin’s recent Mailbag.

A year from now, it will be interesting to see who is here and who has been moved on, but in the end, when it comes to Bill Guerin, change is needed to improve the overall culture of this team, even if it means beloved members of the locker room no longer being here. Remember, it’s not personal, it’s business.