Yesterday, we talked about having realistic expectations for the 2012-13 season now that the Wild have Zach Parise and Ryan Suter on board.
But, eventually, with each passing season, there will become higher expectations. So say next year, we expect a playoff appearance. Then the next year we will expect, a second round playoff appearance, then a division title, and so on. Without a doubt, Craig Leipold, Chuck Fletcher, and company have their work cut out for them now that they have opened up a brand new culture to the State of Hockey: A culture of winning.
No, you simply cannot expect to have this culture just by signing Parise and Suter. Fletcher created this, by building up his farm system with immense talent (Mikael Granlund, Charlie Coyle, Jonas Brodin, etc.), while his NHL team struggled. Then last year he made some bold moves (Heatley and Setoguchi) to change it up in the locker room. And as we saw in the 11-12 season, his boldness paid off through mid-December. But then the bottom fell out from under the team and they limped across the finish line.
But now, Fletcher has his prospects signed and ready to play in Houston, and he has the big club looking its best, ever since he came on following the 08-09 season.
And now the real work begins. The team will open the season, and every other season for the following 12, with the highest expectations in the history of the franchise. And now every time 18,000 fans flock down to St. Paul to see the Wild play, they will be expecting a Wild victory.
All because Chuck Fletcher has done what he was hired to do: Create a culture of winning.