The Wild have already moved on from their off-roading adventure of a season and now it looks like the program could be on its way out.
“It’s something we are looking at,” said General Manager Chuck Fletcher.
“We are evaluating it internally, and that will come at the end of the year.
But we have not had any discussions with them about the program at this time.”
“We do have some conversations going on right now,” said Fletcher.
While off-the-radar off-ramp and adventure programs are not exactly the buzz words that were once the Wild’s signature, the organization has been pushing the idea of expanding and making the program more appealing to a younger audience.
The Wild have a large off-season camp this week, and will have a few days to assess what it would take to add an adventure off-track car to the roster.
According to Fletcher, there are no plans to make any major moves this off-seasons, and while the Wild might have some of the deepest rosters in the NHL, there is no denying that there are a lot of potential destinations that could fit their needs.
With the expansion draft on the horizon, Fletcher and the Wild will also be evaluating players for their respective clubs, and they will have to weigh the cost and benefit of adding an off-radent car to their roster.
While off road car programs are a great idea, they are not an immediate fit for a Wild team that has been around the block twice in the past decade, and there have been other opportunities to add a brand new program to their lineup.
In 2015, the Wild hired Peter Chiarelli to lead their off road program, but he left the team in 2018.
He brought in a new coach, Jeff Blashill, who brought with him some of his off-trail expertise.
Chiarelli then brought in Rick Westhead, a veteran of several Off-Track programs.
That left the Wild with two options: they could move on from Blashills and Westhead and make a new hire, or they could keep Blashils program intact and hope that the players who benefited from the Off Road Car program would stay.
There is some history between the two programs.
The Wild brought in former GM Chuck Fletcher to lead the Off Track program and he had the backing of the Wild as he built the program.
During his tenure, the team was able to add some of its best players, such as Sami Vatanen, Ryan Suter, Ryan Murray, Mikko Koivu and Zach Parise.
When the team did bring back some of their best players in the off-course program, it brought with it some of those players who would have been expected to remain with the Wild for a while.
Despite some of that success, the off road team was not able to compete with the elite teams on the East Coast or the West Coast.
But after losing some of them in the last few years, the program was able play a role in the Wild success this year.
Over the years, Fletcher has used his position in front of the camera to bring in some of these off-route stars to the team, including Mike Reilly, Cody Hodgson, Adam Larsson, Mikael Granlund, Jake McCabe, Andrew Shaw, Brandon Dubinsky, Mikkel Boedker and Jori Lehtera.
There are many names that have become household names, but it was Blashillas own off-speed program that brought in some very good players that helped to win the Stanley Cup in the Off Race era.
Now that the off track program is finished, Fletcher may want to look at adding some of this same type of talent.
One way that the Wild can do that would be by bringing in players who have some experience off-board, but are not necessarily considered the best off-racers in the world.
Those players would be eligible for free agency this summer and could be considered the future of the program in Minnesota.
This is something the Wild is open to, as the team is currently in the middle of a rebuild, and is in need of a player to take the reins.
Some of the players could be the type of players who are a fit for the program, while others might be able to fill the gap that the program left.
For example, if a player is able to develop a new off-ice style of play that can help the team win, they could be a fit.
Another possibility would be to bring back players who were on the program for a short time but did not end up contributing on the ice.
Players like Sami Vuorinen, Nick Foligno, Ryan McDonagh and Mikael