Wild Trade Kevin Fiala To The Kings
The Minnesota Wild today traded Kevin Fiala to the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for defenseman prospect Brock Faber and the Kings’ first-round pick (19th overall) in the 2022 NHL Draft.
Cap Friendly reports the 25-year-old winger also signed a seven-year contract with the Kings worth an annual average value of $7.875 million. The deal includes a full no-movement clause that begins in 2023-24 through 2025-26, becoming a modified no-trade clause from 2026-27 through the remainder of the deal.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I doubt anyone’s surprised the Wild traded Fiala. Completing a one-year, $5.1 million contract, his career-best 85-point performance put the restricted free agent in line for a significant raise. However, the Wild couldn’t afford it with over $12 million in dead cap space from last year’s buyouts of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter biting into their cap room for 2022-23.
Fiala will likely become the Kings’ first-line left wing skating alongside center Anze Kopitar and right wing Adrian Kempe. He could also skate on their second line with center Phillip Danault and right winger Viktor Arvidsson. He’ll be expected to provide a boost to a Kings’ offense whose 2.87 goals-per-game average ranked 20th overall and a powerplay percentage (16.1) that was 27th overall.
Despite Fiala’s impressive stats this season, it remains to be seen if he’s truly elevated his play to the next level. His previous career-best was a 54-point effort in 62 games during the 2019-20 season before it was ended by COVID-19. If his play regresses, the Kings will have an expensive mistake on their hands. On the other hand, it could be money well-spent if he performs up to expectations.
The move leaves the Kings with nearly $12 million in cap space with 16 players under contract for 2022-23. Kempe, Michael Anderson and Sean Durzi are their notable restricted free agents, with Kempe due for a big raise himself after a career-high 35-goal performance this season.
As for the Wild, they now have two picks in the first round (19th and 24th overall) and a promising blueliner in the 19-year-old Faber, who spent this season with the University of Minnesota. The Athletic’s Scott Wheeler ranked him seventh among Kings prospects during his 2022 ranking of their prospect pool. He believed Faber had the makings of “a very effective, three-zone five-on-five player.”
The Wild still has limited salary-cap space, with just $6.6 million remaining and 19 players signed for next season. It’s believed they hope to bring back goalie Marc-Andre Fleury next season but that could require shedding a salary to make it happen. They’ll also have to find someone to replace Fiala’s offense. That won’t be easy given their salary limitations.
This trade could signal the start of a potentially active trade market leading up to the 2022 NHL Draft in Montreal on July 7 and 8. Some clubs could attempt to wheel and deal before the opening round next Thursday.
Could work out for the Kings, especially if he’s on a line with Kopitar and Kempe. And you have to assume their scouting department did their homework on him over a good stretch of games.
I wish them luck – but if he turns out to be a one-hit wonder that contract will be a big burden down the road.
I was hoping Ottawa could land him. Attracting guys to Ottawa is tough and was thinking mug oreganos playi my in Minnie would make a guy more use to cold winters and thus Canada.
Perhaps Dorion felt the risk was to great. Perhaps fiala did not express a willingness to sign in Ottawa. I have to think Ottawa couldn’t of bested that mini offer.
So fiala is off the market. Who is next in Dorion can’t have list but want.
Geeze man. My typos are legendary. Something like “him playing in Minni”
That one had me stumped. Lol
Barrie and Kassian for C White and One of the D prospects. Bernard-Docker Lassi Branstrom
I think Boldy will fill Fiala’s shoes quite nicely. And like $7m less cap hit.
Rossi will get some games in
S7 , I like that deal for both teams but would not part wtih Thomson. Had high hopes for Brannstrom but I don’t see him being a difference maker in Ottawa.
Boldy is going to be a top6 for a long time to come
I don’t want Barrie or Kassian anywhere near Ottawa.
the deal is pretty underwhelming coming back to Minny. It’s been suggested that Guerrin erred allowing Fiala’s camp to talk to teams about contracts. Once he had the number he wanted from LA then Minny was stuck dealing with LA. I’ve heard both sides of the argument on Fiala. I’m not sold on the player and I’m happy Dorion is working on something bigger.
Amen to that. And you got it, once Guerin gave him permission to talk to other clubs there was NO way Fiala was getting that contract in Ottawa – or most other locales. Once he and L.A. came to terms on that it was a foregone conclusion that that was where he was headed.
Not sure why they would be stuck dealing with LA? He had zero leverage over Minnesota.
I don’t think a 1st and a former 2nd is bad for a player they could no longer afford.
But I would agree on not being sold on this player. If he doesn’t pan out, that 1st and former 2nd may look like a great return down the road.
I think a first and a top defensive prospect is a great return for Fiala. Minnesota did way better than I thought they would.
Being able to talk turkey with interested clubs was the deal-sealer and when L.A. came up with almost $8 mil over 7 years I doubt any other interested parties were willing to go that high on either $ or term – especially if any of them had similar worries about his ability to repeat that kind of performance.
Once Fiala and L.A. agreed on that contract – signed and sealed within minutes of the trade being concluded – Guerin had little choice but to accept because there was no way he could retain him in Minnesota. And, no, it’s not a bad return at all – some pretty good NHLers were plucked at # 19 and to boot he gets a good-sized Univ. of Minnesota D-man prospect taken 45th overall in 2020.