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Fenton adjusts to life in Minnesota, with Wild

New GM has been on the job nearly one month, and business is about to pick up

by Dan Myers @DanMyers /

ST. PAUL -- After a few weeks of life being a constant blur, things are finally getting back to some semblance of normal for Wild General Manager Paul Fenton.

Two interviews for the job in the span of about 10 days or so, then his actual hiring on May 21 and a press conference at Xcel Energy Center the following day threw things into overdrive.

Suddenly, with just one month until the NHL Draft, Fenton was tasked with meeting an entire front office; Vice President of Hockey Operations Brent Flahr, assistant GMs Andew Brunette and Shep Harder and a host of others that Fenton's now supervising.

In addition, he and his wife Nona have been house hunting, looking for a place to settle after spending the last two decades in Nashville.

Video: Paul Fenton shares memorable story about father

Oh, and there is the matter of other important business: Making the Wild better on the ice.

"I haven't completely settled in yet," Fenton told "We moved from a hotel for an apartment for the last little bit and we're in the process of buying a place. It's been, 'Go home, go to work, go home, go to work, go home, go to work,' and it's been hectic, but it's been fun."

Perhaps its no surprise that things began to slow down a couple weeks ago once organizational meetings began.

Fenton met with the team's scouting staff and front office to begin charting a course for the NHL Draft, which begins Friday in Dallas. Minnesota will have the 24th selection in round one, with seven more selections to follow Saturday in rounds 2-7. 

This past week, Fenton brought in the coaching staff, including head coach Bruce Boudreau, to go over the pro personnel side of things. 

Fenton said getting back into the business of building a hockey team has brought more normalcy and more of a routine back to his day.

"Every day, it gets a little slower," Fenton said. "To have the Indy 500 going for a long time, and it's there's starting to be a yellow caution flag to be able to slow down and see what's happened."

With his new role as general manager, Fenton said there have been some subtle changes. The biggest one, he's found, is he's had to jam about a year's worth of work into four weeks.

"It's been interesting," Fenton said. "Everything this time of year from the seat I used to sit in had been planned throughout the year, you had your pieces, you were ready to go and pull the trigger. And now it's reorganizing, reconnecting, do all these things that I had all year to do but we're going to fast forward it to a month of preparation."

Fenton said he's been helped greatly by the staff that has remained in place under former general manager Chuck Fletcher. 

Flahr will play a major role for the Wild in this weekend's draft, as he has for the past several years, while Brunette and Harder have continued their work preparing for what could be a busy summer ahead. 

"Everybody has been really receptive and friendly," Fenton said. "It's my job to put them at ease, too. I know that if I was sitting where they are and you just had some turmoil, it makes your life a little bit harder just trying to adjust here. But I think me just being myself will put them at ease."

Fenton left the Twin Cities on Thursday afternoon to spend a couple of days back in the Boston area as he attempts to take a couple days off before the real work begins.

Following the draft Friday and Saturday, free agency kicks off eight days later on July 1. Development camp begins less than two weeks after that. 

Perhaps a couple weeks back home in Boston could follow before his first season as Wild GM begins in mid-September. The club released its preseason schedule earlier this week with its regular-season schedule set to come out just before the draft.

"As summer goes on, maybe we make some decisions, make some moves and things can slow down," Fenton said. "But I expect it to be a really busy summer. At some point, I think I'l go back east and Cape Cod and get a little relaxation."


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