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They Said It: Exit Day

by Staff Writer / Minnesota Wild



Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher

On the season:

It’s a disappointing ending to a good season. I think any time you get 100 points, you make the playoffs and win a round, you get to the final eight, to me, it’s a good season. Having said that, I think we wanted to have better than a good season. 

The bar is raised, but internally and externally. If you spoke to our players they’ll tell you last year was probably a better feeling losing in the second round than this year, I don’t think anybody’s jumping up and down right now. We’re disappointed and really a little stunned it ended so quickly. 

On looking at pieces this offseason:

Initially it’s going to come internally. You look at the growth of both Niederreiter and Zucker becoming 20 goal scorers, I think there’s still another level they can both get to. Mikael Granlund, I thought, had a tremendous playoffs and he’s a young guy who has the potential to take on more offensively and produce more. 

In terms of the free-agency market, with the exception of dealing with our own free agents, we’ll try to deal with as many of those guys as we can. We’re not really looking at this point to be a big player. The depth of the market isn’t what it often is, I think we’ll deal with our own players and talk to them and see who we can bring back before we look at that outside market. 

We have a lot young guys. We’ve committed to them contractually and none of them have hit their prime or hit their peak. So that’s where the growth is going to come. 

On signing Devan Dubnyk:

I met with him today and I expressed our interest in brining him back. Like any pending unrestricted free agent, he has earned the right to make the choice he wants to make. 

I think he knows what we have here. We were a good fit for him and he was obviously a good fit for us. Usually these things take care of themselves, but ultimately he’ll have the final say. We’ll do what we can within the parameters of the salary cap to keep him here. 

Devan’s 28 years old and he’s a big goalie. He’s a guy who seemed to fit in with our group and if we can make it happen we will. That will certainly be our goal. 


Wild Head Coach Mike Yeo

On needing to play with urgency for so long:

I’ve definitely thought about this the last couple of days, I don’t think physically it would’ve been a problem, but maybe emotionally maybe the grind. We always try to take things from one season and try to use it or learn from it whatever we have to do to try to get better going forward. 

If there’s one thing that I think is a focus for our group and for all of us — there’s a couple years where we had to grind for the last part of the season. Not that you want to coast into the playoffs, but certainly that can be a little bit taxing. I’m not going to sit up here and say we lost because of fatigue, but I do think that’s something we have to learn from in the regular season, maybe setting yourself up a little bit better going into the playoffs. 

Nobody is satisfied in here. Nobody is feeling overly good about the fact that we got to the second round. We have to find a way to be better and that’s on us as a staff too.

Players

Mikko Koivu on the feeling in the room:

It’s a lot different than it’s ever been when I finished a season here. We’re all still very disappointed. There hasn’t been that many days yet so I think everyone is still trying to figure out what happened and find the reasons, things like that.

Koivu on building experience with the group:

I believe the more experience you have together over the years, the more you keep that team together, that’s when you’re going to find out how far you’re ready to go. If you look at the good teams, they’ve been together for a lot of years. Every team basically has to go through those ups and downs, for sure in one season, but more than just one year. I believe in that.

Zach Parise on the year:

A lot of ups and downs. Just a little bit of everything I guess. I think the ending is still pretty disappointing for everybody.

I think we did go through a lot of as a group. A lot of injuries, sicknesses, times where there really wasn’t a lot of room for error for a couple of months. For us to overcome that, that was a good sign to go through that together. And then now move on and try it again next year.

Ryan Suter on this year's disappointment:

The fact that we got to where we were is pretty good. I think it’s also good knowing that the guys in the room are disappointed with how the year ended. A couple years ago we were excited to be in the playoffs and you lose the first round, you’re excited about that. Last year, you win the first round and you’re happy that you made it to the second round. Then this year, to make it to the second round and then to have the feeling we have now, I think is a good thing. I think we’re moving in the right direction.

Jason Zucker on the team:

You can’t sit here and say we didn’t have a great team. We had a lot of great guys in this locker room that did a lot of great things. We had great leaders and all around the board it was a really good team. You can’t sit here and say you need ten guys from outside or whatever it is. I think we had a great team that could have done a lot of really good things. We didn’t accomplish it this year.

Thomas Vanek on the end of the season:

It’s hard. I really think our second half was great and going into the playoffs, I thought we had something special going here. Young or old you’ve got to realize you only get so many chances. This is a tough league. There’s only 16 teams that make it and I think every team has a chance. I definitely thought we had a good one. We were down to eight and just couldn’t advance.

Devan Dubnyk on the team:

It still feels like we should be playing. Yeah, it was a good season, but we certainly feel like we had a special group in here. We’d like to still be playing. It’s tough to watch games going on, on TV when you feel like you should still be playing. Certainly some motivation for all of us going forward.

It’s such a good mix of veteran guys that are also going to continue to be here for awhile, but you have, also, a big group of young players that made a big step this season and have showed all signs of continuing to make big strides. And that’s a really good combination to have.

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