In a story that was very easily overshadowed by the other hockey news coming out of Minnesota on Monday, Paul Fenton, the former GM of the Minnesota Wild, has a new job with a new team. He has been hired as a scout by the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Prior to joining the Wild, Fenton was an assistant GM and scouting director for Nashville and his skills as a talent evaluator have long been recognized. As Wild fans are well aware, his ability to run the Minnesota front office as GM left a lot to be desired. He was abruptly fired by the Wild in at the end of July 2019, as owner Chuck Leipold decided the team needed a new direction under a new general manager.
Now, Fenton is back to serving in a scouting capacity. This does seem to be what Fenton was best at, so it is a quality addition for the Blue Jackets. Per tweets from Michael Russo, the Wild granted permission to Columbus to hire Fenton, but will continue to be on the hook for the remainder of his salary from his contract with team.
Fenton’s tenure with the Wild was short and controversial. Questions followed his decisions on draft picks, trades, and free agent signings. The Filip Johansson draft pick may never make sense, Nino Niederreiter for Victor Rask was a lopsided swap plenty of Wild fans will not soon forget, and Mats Zuccarello’s contract may not look particularly great in a couple years. That being said, Kevin Fiala is one of the best players on the Wild roster right now. For better or for worse, the Wild have to work with the transactions Fenton made during his time with the team. As Wild fans begin to move on and focus on the trades that new GM Bill Guerin is now making, Paul Fenton is moving on as well.