ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Minnesota Wild are one of the 14 teams that missed the NHL playoffs. Again.
But owner Craig Leipold is adamantly optimistic he won't be watching the postseason on television again next year.
In an interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday at team headquarters, Leipold said he's working on a contract extension for general manager Chuck Fletcher, who has one more year left on his original deal, which began when he was hired before the 2009-10 season.
"Chuck's team is coming in next year. The guys who his people have scouted, who his people have drafted, who he has developed are these great, young prospects," Leipold said, "and I think the next couple of years are going to be really proud years."
Leipold bought the team midway through the 2007-08 season. That was the last time the Wild made the playoffs. But there is a heralded group of forwards turning pro this year, recent high draft picks like Mikael Granlund, Charlie Coyle, Zack Phillips, Jason Zucker, Brett Bulmer and Johan Larsson who should significantly upgrade the talent pool in the system. They won't all join the Wild at the same time, but they're all expected to be in training camp fighting for roster spots, strengthening the competition and exciting the fan base.
"We're selling the excitement of these young guys and hopefully this summer we'll make some moves and we'll sell the moves that we make this summer," Leipold said. "We aren't going to sit still this summer. We'll do something, whether it's playing in the free agency market or talking to some other teams about doing some trades. Chuck has certainly shown that he's not afraid to pull the trigger."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.