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Paul Fenton was hired as general manager of the Minnesota Wild on
Monday Authentic
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, after 20 seasons in the front office with the
division rival Nashville Predators.

The 58-year-old Fenton spent the last 12 seasons as assistant GM for the
Predators. He helped David Poile, the winningest general manager in NHL history,
shape the roster that reached the Stanley Cup Final last year and won the
Presidents’ Trophy with the best regular-season record for 2017-18. Wild owner
Craig Leipold, who once owned the Predators, filled the vacancy created last
month when he declined to renew Chuck Fletcher’s contract.

”Paul is uniquely suited for this job having played 10 years of professional
hockey and holding 25 years of management experience in the NHL,” Leipold said
in a statement distributed by the Wild. ”His gift of evaluating talent is
obvious in Nashville’s roster and recent success. My relationship with Paul goes
back to my early days in Nashville, and I know that Wild hockey fans are going
to love Paul’s infectious passion for the game and unsurpassed work ethic. He’s
the right person to deliver a Stanley Cup to the State of Hockey.”

Fenton, who will be introduced at a news conference Tuesday at Xcel Energy
Center, becomes only the third general manager in the franchise’s 18-year
history with a multiyear contract. Leipold considered Fenton for the position
nine years ago before hiring Fletcher.

The Predators used 17 players they had drafted to win the Western Conference
in 2016-17 for the first time in franchise history. Fenton was director of
player personnel for the Predators during the expansion club’s first eight
seasons, until a promotion in 2006 to replace Ray Shero as second in command
under Poile. Shero, now the general manager of the New Jersey Devils, left to
become GM of the Pittsburgh Penguins, who won the Stanley Cup in 2009.

Fenton is a native of Springfield, Massachusetts, who played at Boston
University and scored 100 goals in 411 career NHL games over eight seasons with
seven teams. He scored 32 goals for the Winnipeg Jets in 1989-90 and began
working in the league as a scout for the Anaheim Ducks in 1993.

Leipold, who has seen just two playoff series wins by the Wild over 10 full
seasons under his control, said last month he needed a ”fresh set of eyes” on a
roster anchored by center Mikko Koivu Womens Drew
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, left wing Zach Parise and defenseman Ryan Suter.

The Wild have made the playoffs six straight years, matching the Ducks for
the longest current streak in the Western Conference, since signing Parise and
Suter to identical, franchise-altering 13-year, $98 million contracts on July 4,
2012. Their overall postseason record is 15-29, though, with four one-and-done
appearances and two trips to the second round. This year, they were pushed aside
in five games by the Jets.

The organizational assets are far from bare for Fenton, with recent high
draft picks Joel Eriksson Ek, Luke Kunin and Jordan Greenway carrying the
potential to form a franchise-leading young core and top-six forwards Mikael
Granlund and Nino Niederreiter still in their prime. The Central Division is
stacked, though, so progress won’t come easy, whether immediate or in the
future. The Predators and Jets had the top two records in the NHL during the
regular season.

The biggest challenge Fenton inherits is the salary cap situation, with about
20 percent of the space taken by Parise and Suter, who are both 33, on deals
that run six more years. Koivu will begin at age 35 a two-year Authentic Khalil
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, $11 million extension he signed before the 2017-18
season.

An aggressive approach to trades could be the best avenue for improvement
this summer, with right wing Charlie Coyle coming off a regression season. Left
wing Jason Zucker and defenseman Matt Dumba will be restricted free agents whose
rights could be dealt for greater return. Center Eric Staal, the team’s leading
scorer with 42 goals, has one year left on a cap-friendly contract and could
fetch a significant haul.

With someone walking onstage every few minutes to read a name off a piece of
paper, the NFL draft wouldn't seem like a big television draw. Yet the 11.2
million people who watched this year made it the week's second most popular
program.

The first round of the draft was shown on Fox, the NFL Network and several
ESPN networks simultaneously. This year's assignment of college football players
to NFL teams was particularly suspenseful, with a handful of quality
quarterbacks waiting to be drafted, and little consensus ahead of time over how
things were going to go.

Still, it wasn't quite as popular as the most-watched draft ever. That came
in 2014 when another quarterback, in this case Johnny Manziel, was selected
first by the Cleveland Browns. That draft reached 12.4 million people on
Thursday, the Nielsen company said.

Coverage of the third day of the draft, when the players really start getting
obscure, reached nearly 3 million and was the most ever, Nielsen said.

With ABC's "Roseanne" in repeats, CBS' "The Big Bang Theory" returned to the
top of the ratings, reaching 11.8 million people.

CBS won the week in prime time Womens Eric
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, averaging 6.4 million viewers. ABC had 4.5 million,
NBC had 4.4 million, Fox had 2.7 million, Univision had 1.6 million, ION
Television had 1.3 million, Telemundo had 1.2 million and the CW had 1.1
million.

TNT was the most popular cable network, averaging 2.74 million viewers in
prime time. Fox News Channel had 2.35 million, ESPN had 1.86 million, MSNBC had
1.75 million and USA had 1.45 million.

ABC's "World News Tonight" topped the evening newscasts with an average of
8.3 million viewers. NBC's "Nightly News" was second with 7.7 million and the
"CBS Evening News" had 5.9 million.

For the week of April 23-29, the top 10 shows, their networks and
viewerships: "The Big Bang Theory" (Thursday, 8 p.m.) CBS, 11.8 million; "Young
Sheldon," CBS, 11.16 million; "The Voice" (Tuesday), NBC, 9.26 million; "60
Minutes Womens
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," CBS, 9.16 million; "American Idol"
(Sunday), ABC, 8.77 million; "The Voice" (Monday), NBC, 8.43 million; "Mom,"
CBS, 8.31 million; "Blue Bloods," CBS, 8.13 million; "Survivor," CBS, 7.82
million; "Hawaii Five-0," CBS, 7.79 million.

ABC is owned by The Walt Disney
Co. CBS is owned by CBS Corp. CW is a joint venture of Warner Bros.
Entertainment and CBS Corp. Fox is owned by 21st Century Fox. NBC and Telemundo
are owned by Comcast Corp. ION Television is owned by ION Media Networks.
Online:

://nielsen

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