It seemed inevitable that the Minnesota Wild had to start trading Kevin Fiala this low season.
Wednesday they did.
The Wild sent Fiala, a restricted free agent, to the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for the Kings’ first-round roster in 2022 (No. 19 overall) and defense forward Brock Faber.
Faber, currently the captain of the University of Minnesota, was a second-round pick (No. 45 overall) by the Kings in the 2020 NHL draw.
The Kings are also reportedly signing Fiala to a long-term contract extension as part of the deal. According to Elliotte Friedman, that contract will be a seven-year deal worth $7.9 million per season†
Kings are ready for a giant leap forward
This is a huge deal for a Kings team that took a big step forward last season and could be on the brink of a major breakthrough in the Western Conference. Fiala seems to fit the Kings’ style of play perfectly, given his ability to control possession, while also giving them the much-needed scoring punch to the wings. Fiala is coming off a career year in which he scored 33 goals, 52 assists and 85 points in 82 appearances for the Wild last season. In his more than three years with the Wild, he averaged 30 goals and 70 points per 82 games.
The Kings have amassed one of the deepest farm systems in the league in recent years, and over the past two seasons they have been very bold in adding established NHL players to complement them.
A year ago they traded for Victor Arvidsson and made a huge free agent splash signing Philip Danault† Together those two formed an excellent second scoring line behind Anze Kopitar that helped propel the Kings to the playoffs.
The two biggest X-factors for the Kings are the continued development of young attackers Arthur Kaliyevi and Quinton Byfield, as well as their goaltending. If Kaliyev and Byfield take a big step forward, this lineup will definitely make it fierce, especially in the middle with Kopitar, Danualt and Byfield as their 1-3 in the middle.
The best of a bad situation for Wild
But their salary cap situation is dire in the coming years because of the Zach Parise and Ryan Suter buyouts that will result in $12-15 million in empty salary cap space for years to come. There was just no way to re-sign Fiala.
Faber is a legit prospect and has potential for the top four in the long run, but the No. 19 overall pick is a lottery ticket that probably only has a 50-50 chance of being an NHL player, let alone one. important contribution. A tough spot for a team that has been so good (and fun) for the past two years.
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