With the start of the regular season just three days away, Wild.com's Dan Myers sat down with General Manager Paul Fenton to gauge his thoughts on the club's offseason, it's summer and the upcoming season. This story appears in Wild.com's 2018-19 season preview.
Dan Myers: Your first camp as GM is in the books. How did you feel it went?
Paul Fenton: It's been a really good training camp. Our guys have put in the time this summer and you can see that they're in great shape and they're in a great frame of mind. I'm excited for the way that camp went and I'm excited for the season.
DM: Are you starting to get a feel for exactly what you have in terms of the roster and how it could fit together?
PF: Yes, definitely. The more time that we spend with each other, meaning the players and the coaches and the staff, the more comfortable it becomes and the more it starts to make sense. But as soon as we play a few games, we certainly know that everything kind of changes and you see where you are. But right now, I'm pretty comfortable with the roster the way that it stands.
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DM: You've been in town pretty regularly now since May. You've gone through a draft process, a free agency and a training camp ... how excited are you now to finally get to the part where the games actually matter?
PF: You know, usually I'm relatively calm. I look at the game and I keep it in perspective knowing how a lot of things change and how a lot of situations present themselves. I'm good with it, but there is a lot of angst in the way that you're waiting for everything to happen. This week will be a long week for us to wait and open up against Colorado then come home and open Saturday night. For me, it's a patience game. I've gotta let it come more than anything. The players have a anxious nerve to them knowing a new season is starting. It's a great feeling and I've got the same thing now.
DM: The word of the summer was "tweak." You added guys like Greg Pateryn, Matt Hendricks, Eric Fehr, J.T. Brown and Matt Read. What have been your first impressions of them as they try and inject some new blood into a group that's largely been together for quite awhile?
PF: I've been very happy with the intangible contributions that these guys have made. Putting guys in a position where they are comfortable with how they are going to contribute with us is going to be the most important thing. No roster spot is guaranteed, so that's the nice thing. [The entire team has] pressure from underneath because I think we've added the right type of individuals who can push for spots if we need to.
DM: How has your relationship with Bruce Boudreau evolved and how, in your eyes, has that coaching staff worked together as they try and re-find that chemistry from their Washington days?
PF: Every day, [Bruce and I] get more comfortable with each other and the rest of the coaches; it's a get-used-to period for them as well. They're getting used to me. I just like the way that we communicate with where our roster is, about what our needs are, about what we need. We have similar views on the talent level that we have and the roster that we have right now.
DM: You won't have to wait too long for that first trip back to Nashville (Oct. 15). Is that something you are looking forward to and how special will it be going back to Bridgestone Arena for the first time as a visitor?
PF: It will be kind of strange. I don't know, to be honest with you, what the mood or the feeling will be like for me, spending 20 years in one place trying to build an organization from the bottom to where they are now, has been rewarding. Immediately, I'll be having to root against them, which is an unnatural thing.
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