Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher met with media following a busy Trade Deadline Day, which saw the Wild acquire Jordan Leopold, Chris Stewart and Jared Knight. Chris Stewart, acquired by the Wild at the deadline, spoke to the Wild’s PONDcast about the move.
GM Chuck Fletcher
On Acquiring Chris Stewart:
As the season’s gone on, you get to know your team, you learn about your team. We’re a very fast team, we have a lot of skill. I like our depth, especially now. But the probably one fair criticism you can level at is our lack of size. Chris is a big, strong guy — certainly, a guy that brings a lot of toughness to our team. But yet, he’s a player that has contributed offensively, can play on the power play, can really shoot the puck, he’s willing to go to the net. We think with the type of players we have on the team, his skill set really compliments our group really well.
On Stewart In The Lineup:
Absolutely. Mike confirmed he wouldn’t be a healthy scratch tomorrow. Again, the coaches will make the lineup, but we traded for him to come in here and help us.
On How The Lines Will Change:
Our lines change almost every game. Our players are adaptable. They’ve moved. The great chemistry in the lines that were put together in October when we were winning are completely different than they are now...I know the coaches were very comfortable with adding Chris...The most important thing is just we need to keep winning games.
On The Jordan Leopold Acquisition:
We were looking for depth and looking for a left-shot defenseman, and looking for a guy that has, again, played in the playoffs. We want our defense to really be mobile and the ability to move the puck. And his skill set certainly has those two attributes in it. Certainly a guy that has had a lot of success in this market and was eager to come home too. I think we’ll get a lot out of Jordan Leopold.
On The Letter From Leopold’s Daughter:
I saw it today — tremendous letter. After that the pressure was immense. You can certainly feel for the family. Very good writer, in fact we may have an opening on our communications staff, we’ll see.
I’m telling you, it was a pretty powerful letter. She hit on a few good points. We’re excited for Jordan. Again, he was a star here in high school, and certainly a star in college and is very familiar with all of our players from the summer from skating with them and playing with a few of them. You can’t have enough experienced defensemen.
On Leopold In The Lineup:
I would say Marco [Scandella]’s questionable, to be honest with you. I’d be surprised if he played tomorrow. But you never know. But I’m expecting Jordan Leopold to play tomorrow.
On The Minor League Trade:
[Zack Phillip]’s a very young and still a talented kid, and hopefully he can find his way in Boston. Sometimes these things happen. We’re acquiring a young player in [Jared] Knight, that similar thing I think has happened, where he’s sort of hit a wall in Boston and probably needs a change. And sometimes these trades can work well for both teams. Certainly we need a lot of improvement in Iowa.
On The Need For Size Down The Stretch:
We have a lot of tough road games here and playing a lot of physical teams down the stretch. There’s risk in everything, but I think our organization, right from Craig, who continues to show his willingness to take on salary, and allow us to add these players. We want to try to win. We know how tough a conference it is. We were pretty far back in January, we’ve climbed back, but yet having said that all we’ve done really is earned the right to talk about the playoffs. We were so far back before. We have a lot of work to do to make the playoffs. We want to compete, we want to win. And we want to give ourselves every chance to do whatever’s possible this season.
On The Wild’s Trade Deadline Moves:
We feel we’re a better organization right now than we were this morning. You look back, even back to training camp, adding [Ryan] Carter and [Nate] Prosser in training camp, and being able to pick up [Devan] Dubnyk in January and [Sean] Bergenheim last week and now the additions we made today. It’s exciting. I think we’re a better, deeper team. We have a lot of work to do, but hopefully this gives us the ammunition we need to win enough games down the stretch here.
On How He Found Out He Was Traded To The Wild:
It came close to that trade clock deadline there. My phone was kind of just wrong, and it was James Duthie, and next thing you know I was live on TSN, and kind of funny, I was told I was traded to the Minnesota Wild. As soon as I heard it was them, I was really excited. I think they’re a really good hockey team. They’re playing really great hockey as of lately. Hopefully I can come in and join the fun.
On Minnesota’s Fans And Playing At Xcel Energy Center:
Minnesota has always been one of my favorite places to play. The fans there have been great. Coming into that arena, you’re always fired up. The way they support their team is great. To be on the other end of that know, I’m sure it’ll feel a little different. But it’s exciting. This time of year, everyone’s fighting for their lives, this is the best time of year. I’m excited to come in there and hopefully play for the Stanley Cup.
On What He Brings To The Wild:
I’m a pretty big guy. I’m a power forward. I have some pretty good speed. I like to play the hard-nosed game and get in the corners there on the forecheck and create turnovers, go to the tough areas to score goals. I think, personally, with the skill they have in that lineup, I should fit in pretty well.
On Making His Wild Debut:
Currently I’m sitting in the airport right now in Tampa Bay. If everything goes smoothly, I should be making my debut against Ottawa tomorrow night.
On What Fletcher Told Him:
Personally, he just said to come in know we’re not trying to reinvent the wheel here. He’s not asking me to do anything or be anyone that I haven’t been my whole career. He just wants me to come in and be myself and really bring that power aspect to the lineup and that physicality and go from there.