Chuck Fletcher - Manager of Expectations.
You know, that just sounds wrong.
Hey, Fletcher doesn't have to have it printed on his business cards in order that it be an apt description.
We let the likes of Latendresse and Lundin walk, and with nary a whisper of dissent from the Wild faithful yesterday. We all "get" why Latendresse walked (Gui being at least partially responsible for why we swallowed his leaving so easily) and yet, when we saw the money he got from Ottawa, there could have been some "aww, come on Fletch. We could have paid him THAT!" While that's true, if a guy doesn't want to sign here, he doesn't want to sign here. And, in any event, I don't think I saw any whining of consequence about losing Latendresse - and his considerable potential.
Lundin, well, sadly Lundin is the Cal Coolidge of the Minnesota Wild. Barely healthy when he was here, and didn't really distinguish himself when he actually played. Did he actually leave? How would we know?
Hards back in the fold at a reasonable, tradeable $1.9M for 2 years is another solid if unspectacular move. And Kassian at $575k is equally non-constraining.
And Veilleux, sweet, simple, benign l'il Stevie Veilleux. A two-way deal for $600k is the veteran pro hockey player contract equivalent of me winning $5 on a scratch-off. In a word: inconsequential. In five words: not going to hurt us.
You know what else Fletcher didn't do yesterday? He didn't give Paul Gaustad $3.25M for 4 years to play ice hockey. He didn't give Dennis Wideman $5.25M for 5 years to do anything.
I like the Konopka signing. We've never had a tough guy who could garner a normal shift. And God knows we've had our share of tough guys. And Mitchell's a fairly benign player in his own right, but he takes pressure off the kids, should they fail to prove ready for the show this fall.
So, while the big fish are still out there swimming around, Fletcher was wily enough to land some smaller fish, bolstering the optics among the faithful that he is in fact awake and driving the ship.