The Minnesota Wild have traded the rights to pending restricted free agent Kevin Fiala to the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for a 2022 first-round pick and prospect Brock Faber.
Fiala is expected to sign a seven-year deal with the Kings worth an annual average value of $7.9 million, according to reports.
The 25-year-old is coming off the best season of his career, posting career-bests of 32 goals and 85 points while playing in all 82 games. The 25-year-old is one of the most underrated players in the league — perhaps for not much longer — and will immediately bolster the Kings’ top-six forward corps.
Guerin on trading Fiala to a Western Conference team: "I don't care."
Says the Kings did no tire kicking, showed they were interested right away; wild wanted faber.
Says both them and Fiala knew there was no way to re-sign him
— Michael Russo (@RussoHockey) June 29, 2022
It’s an aggressive but calculated move for the Kings, who are looking to return to contention, while merging the last remnants of their 2012 and 2014 Cup-winning teams, namely Anze Kopitar, Jonathan Quick and Drew Doughty. Los Angeles struggled to generate offense last year and Fiala provides both the high-end playmaking that it needs, while operating on the same timeline of its younger core.
For the Wild, they get to recoup a key asset in the Kings’ first-round pick, likely betting that their run to the playoffs was an anomaly. Minnesota is coming off a 113-point season and could be a dark horse in the Western Conference again, but it’s going to be an interesting offseason. As per the provisions of Ryan Suter and Zach Parise’s buyouts last summer, the Wild will incur $12.7 million in dead cap space for the 2022-23 season, likely infringing upon their ability to attract top free agents.
Faber, a right-shot defenseman who captained the University of Minnesota, was selected 45th overall by the Kings in 2020 and helped the United States win gold at the 2021 World Juniors. He posted two goals and 14 points in 32 games during the 2021-22 NCAA season.
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