"It's Up To Him...But We Really Have To Look At This"

From Mike Russo's excellent piece sitting down with GM Chuck Fletcher, most of which centered around the dealings with San Jose this Summer:

Fletcher on trading Burns: "The players you could readily move, he had by far the most value. People might find this strange, but the decision actually has no reflection of what we felt about Brent Burns. It was more a reflection on the status quo had to change and we had to aggressively add a lot of young assets. To get three top assets for one at this stage of our franchise's evolution was really important."

Admitted Fletcher: "As soon as you traded Brent Burns, you know you're one day closer to looking for the next Brent Burns. You're blowing a big hole in one area to hopefully fill multiple areas of weakness knowing you're going to have to go back and address that other area again."

Fletcher will closely monitor the development of Brodin, 18, skating in Sweden, and Marco Scandella, 21, who has been arguably the Wild's best defenseman during an 8-3-3 start.

Could Scandella be that budding No. 1 or 2 defenseman to replace Burns?

"When you look at Scandella's size, skating and skill, he has the talent to be a top defenseman in this league. It's going to be up to him," Fletcher said. "If he wants it badly enough, he has a chance to be a top guy. But we have to really look at this."


I don't know what to make of what Fletcher said; it almost sounds like an indictment of Marco Scandella on a couple levels. On one hand, the quote almost makes it sound like Scandella's work ethic is questioned (despite the work he put in over the Summer (see #20) and what we all saw on Becoming Wild- this is a kid who worked his ass off to improve- he seemed aware of what he had to do when it came to becoming in NHL regular, based off what I had seen and heard from him.

So what is it that Brent Burns has in his game that Scandella doesn't? I'll freefly admit that Burns is a more dynamic player and has the size, but I think Scandella, so far this season playing #1 minutes, looks to be the steadier presence and looks to have better hockey sense. Both can move the puck by pass or by rush, both can shoot the puck, both have the reach and strength to defend players on a physical level.
Ya, they aren't the same, but can effectively anchor a blueline- i.e. "horse minutes" in the same manner. But apparently there is a distinction in there somewhere- unless all of this was lip service from our GM.

This one's open for interpretation folks- what do you got?

*EDIT* And I'm an idiot.


  1. I wouldn't say you're waaay too much of an idiot though. Marco has a long ways to go before he's going to garner consideration for the NHL all-star game. Does Fletcher know if he'll make it through the mixer to get there? Obviously not, and it's not just going to be one off-season that gets him there. It's going to be a process and he's going to have to have about four or five off-seasons to peak and then maintain it all.

    Finally got to see the Wild in person last night, and Scandella is making a lot of the safe plays and isn't making the thoroughbred type plays that Burns can make lugging the puck up ice all by himself to gain the offensive zone. Although I liked Scandella's end-to-end rush at the end of the first period when he drove the net. But at the same point I hated his decision with the puck on his last shift when he shot the puck wide knowing that Backs was just getting pulled as he gained the zone. And then he got off the ice after losing the offensive zone.

    He does have a lot of the tools to be that No. 1, but I think it'll be hard to tell at least for few seasons and hopefully a playoff run.

  2. I think you're over-thinking it a little. I think that's Fletcher telling Scandella he believes he can be that guy, and that Scandella needs to start believing it too and playing with that kind of confidence.

    It's very important in the NHL, and you hear it all the time, about a player knowing the role the team wants him to play, and the player and the team being on the same page as to what that role is. What you're reading there is Fletcher telling Marco what they want his role to be, and that the team believes he can do it. Now Marco has to tell everyone by his on and off ice behavior he's on that page too.

    Brent Burns wasn't Brent Burns at 21 either. It was actually the next year he had his break-out offensively. But, and this is important, because the Wild were still in the early years of being an expansion club, by the time Brent Burns hit his 21st birthday, he already had 100 NHL games under his belt. Marco, in a more mature franchise, only got 20 NHL games by this 21st birthday.

    Play with confidence, Marco, especially offensively. Work your butt off, and put on another 15lbs of muscle over the next two years. At 6'2" you should be able to carry 205lbs of lean, mean d-man machine.

    I've seen you puck-carry; you can do it. You've got a nice shot (but work on the accuracy, and cheat a little closer when you can. . . even a few feet can make the difference between a goal and a save, and you're fast enough to get back if necessary).

    I believe in you too, Marco. It's there if you want it. Go take it.

  3. Scandella is a top pairing defenceman in the same sense Zidlicky is/was: Because our options are limited.
    Great 3-4 defenseman or a serviceable #2 if our #1 is a cerebral mistake-free defensive machine. It'd be one hell of a coup if we have two defenseman next year or the year after who would both be top pairing D on most teams so Scandella will no doubt continue to rack up minutes (as he should, considering his competition in our D corps)