Wild GM Bill Guerin on trading for ‘character people’ like Marc-Andre Fleury

Paul Bissonnette joins the Hockey Central crew to discuss why the Leafs should've looked to add one more piece to the bottom six, how the Wild addressed every area of need at the deadline, and why the Lightning should still be Stanley Cup favourites.

The initial dust has settled and the consensus from around the hockey world is the Minnesota Wild walked away from the 2022 NHL trade deadline as one of the big winners.

Most notably, Minnesota acquired reigning Vezina Trophy winner Marc-Andre Fleury from the Chicago Blackhawks.

Wild general manager Bill Guerin and Fleury won a Stanley Cup together with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2009 and Guerin also was a member of Pittsburgh’s front office when the two were still with that organization.

“I just love Flower,” Guerin said Tuesday during an appearance on The Jeff Marek Show. “He’s a good friend and was a great teammate. He’s still an elite goaltender, even at the age he is. His experience of winning is going to help us.”

The 37-year-old is 19-21-5 on the season with a .908 save percentage, 2.95 goals-against average and four shutouts. Fleury went 28-19 with a .920 save percentage and 2.25 goals-against average in 47 playoff starts with the Vegas Golden Knights over the past four post-seasons.

In addition to Fleury, the Wild also acquired Nicolas Deslauriers, Jacob Middleton and Tyson Jost over the past week in preparation for what they hope will be a lengthy playoff run, and all they gave up in return was a conditional second-round pick (2022), a third-round pick (2023), fifth-round pick (2022), Kaapo Kahkonen and Nico Sturm.

Guerin said the Wild locker room “is so good right now and is so strong” that he “didn’t want to mess with chemistry” leading up to the deadline. He described Fleury as “type of person and teammate welcome in any NHL locker room.”

He also said the feeling throughout the organization is all the players they acquired are “good character people,” in addition to their on-ice talents.

Deslauriers, acquired from the Anaheim Ducks, was described by Guerin as “an abrasive player” who “knows how to make an impression.”

The physical winger did exactly that in his Wild debut Monday, scoring the opening goal and being named the game’s first star in a win over the Golden Knights.

“Even before he played a game for us, everyone was raving about him,” Guerin said of Deslauriers, a former teammate of Wild forward Marcus Foligno when they played together in Buffalo.

Fleury has yet to make his first start wearing a Wild uniform ,but suffice it to say it’s a good sign for the team that Cam Talbot posted a shutout in the team’s first post-deadline game.

“One great thing is to have two veteran goaltenders,” Guerin said. “Two guys I really believe are gonna work great together.”

The Wild also traded the rights to Jack McBain to Arizona for a 2022 second-round selection, and Victor Rask to the Seattle Kraken for future considerations.

“Now we gotta play the games and prove they were good moves,” said Guerin, who added “quite a few” teams showed interest in McBain.

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