ST. PAUL, Minn. Executing three trades in the days leading up to the NHL trade deadline, including dealing popular longtime defenseman Nick Schultz, Minnesota Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher approached each move with a focus on improving in the present with an eye to the future.
Fletcher didn't believe the labeling that goes with being a buyer or seller at the deadline defined Minnesota. For Fletcher, the trades were simply another step in the progression of a building team.
Ever since Fletcher was named the Wild's general manager in May 2009, he has tried to strengthen a sagging talent base. When he took over, Minnesota had missed the playoffs for the first time in three seasons and had a farm system depleted of top-end talent.
Fletcher wasn't afraid to wheel and deal, and his rebuilding job took on a different look last summer when he made two separate trades for scoring forwards Dany Heatley and Devin Setoguchi.
"For us to get better, we felt a few thin...