Minnesota on trading Fiala: 'If you're worried about trading to rivals, you'll never make deals'

Minnesota Wild General Manager Bill Guerin says that the Los Angeles Kings were a willing trade partner and he didn't hesitate to send pending restricted free agent Kevin Fiala to a Western Conference team.

Video Transcript

BILL GUERIN: As you all know, we've made a trade with the Los Angeles Kings, sending Kevin Fiala their way and receiving a first round pick in 2022 and the rights to University of Minnesota defenseman Brock Favor. We are extremely excited about the move and appreciative and want to say thanks to Kevin and his fiancee Jessica for the years that they spent in Minnesota, what they've done.

I think Kevin is really turned into a special player in the last couple of years with Minnesota. And we wish them nothing but the best in Los Angeles.

On our side of things, we're extremely excited to have another first round pick this year that we'll be picking in the first round two times for the second year in a row and to get the rights to a really good young defenseman that we think highly of and I think a lot of people think highly of. He's right down the road at the U. And I've talked to Brock. And he's excited about getting to, at some point in time, being able to play for his hometown team.

So with that, I will open it up to questions.

- Go ahead, Mike.

- Yeah, Billy, obviously you've seen Brock play a ton, just going to games there. And the old adage is you can never have too many defensemen. But you guys have a ton of prospects that are quality right now. What made getting Brock maybe more intriguing than some potential forward prospects, either from the Kings or another team?

BILL GUERIN: I just think that he was a really high-end prospect, somebody that we think is not far away from playing at all. I know he's going back for his third year at the U. But in all actuality, I think Brock could probably play sooner than that.

But it'll be a good year for him back there. And we'll cross that bridge at the end of the season. But like you said, you can never have too many defensemen. And we're real proud of the guys that we have. And this upcoming World Junior, I think we'll have three defensemen on Team Canada and two defensemen on Team USA. And that's good. And we're happy about that. So we're happy to add Brock to the mix.

- Are you able to sort of characterize the interest in Fiala? I mean, did things start to heat up lately? And where there are a lot of teams involved?

BILL GUERIN: A lot of teams? I mean, yeah, teams asked. I don't want to get into how many. But LA, they came in right away and were serious right away. There was no tire-kicking or feeling out process. They were serious right away. So it made it easy to do a deal.

- In terms of the two picks and in the first round here, I mean, do you have any sort of wish list? I mean, it feels like right now, forward is the area where you are going to probably want to really focus on.

BILL GUERIN: No, we're going to take the best player. We have a list for a reason, and we'll stick to it. And you take the best player available.

- And just lastly for me, I mean, was it at all tough, sending Kevin to a Western Conference team? And in terms of his production-- I know when we did that podcast a couple of weeks ago, the reality, you said, is that you probably can't replace Kevin's production just with one or two guys. I mean, how do you replace that now in the lineup this upcoming year?

BILL GUERIN: I don't know. We don't know. We'll have to play the games and see how guys produce. We might be able to. We don't know. And as for trading him to a Western Conference team, I don't care.

If you cut the league in half, that really limits your trade partners. And if we're worried about that all the time, we'll never make deals.

- Thanks.

BILL GUERIN: Yep.

- Go ahead, Sarah.

- Bill, just still how difficult to deal with this, to trade someone who obviously put up a lot of points and was a 30-goal scorer? And how much did you weigh an alternative of trying to explore what it would take to keep him?

BILL GUERIN: Well, I mean, listen, we've been down the road a couple of times with Kevin already. And we just know, hey, look, he had a great year. And we knew it wasn't-- we just were not going to be able to do it. And we knew that. They knew that. And there's no sense just trying to screw around and trying to fit this and fit that and give him a lowball deal. It just is not going to work.

So we knew we were going to have to move him. How did you gauge or figure out what would be a fair return, value-wise, since you're not exactly in a position to maybe take on a comparable roster player, someone already under contract? How did you find fair value, do you think, maybe with that limitation?

BILL GUERIN: Well, I think we got fair value, I really do. I think when you start talking to other teams and teams with higher picks and things like that, those are really tough to give up. And when reality sets in, I mean, you make your best deal. And I thought, like I said, Los Angeles was honest. They stepped right up to the plate. They expressed their want to trade for Kevin and that makes it easy.

I don't feel the need to wait till the draft or wait for other teams and leverage ones. We were going to get a fair deal with LA, one that we're very happy with.

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