Kings acquire Fiala from Wild, sign him to 7-year deal

Posted: 01/07/2022 in NHL
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The Minnesota Wild have traded pending restricted free-agent forward Kevin Fiala‘s rights to the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for their 2022 first-round pick and prospect Brock Faber, the team announced Wednesday.

The Kings then signed Fiala to a seven-year pact with an average annual value of $7.875 million. The contract also includes a no-movement clause for three seasons beginning in 2023-24, per CapFriendly.

Fiala is coming off a breakthrough campaign where he posted a career-high 33 goals and 85 points in 82 contests. He scored 27 goals and 67 points at even strength, which is welcome for a Kings team that ranked amongst the bottom 10 in five-on-five goals last season.

However, he faded in the playoffs and mustered just three assists as the St. Louis Blues eliminated the Wild in six games during the first round.

The 25-year-old winger played last season on a one-year, $5.1-million deal and is entering his ninth NHL campaign. Selected by the Nashville Predators 11th overall in 2014, Fiala has 124 goals and 159 assists in 419 career NHL games.

The Wild are entering a salary-cap crunch in 2022-23 after buying out the remaining four years of Ryan Suter‘s and Zach Parise‘s contracts last summer. The pair will count for almost $13 million against the cap next season and $14.7 million in the 2023-24 and 2024-25 campaigns.

Wild general manager Bill Guerin told reporters shortly after the trade that he knew there was virtually no chance Minnesota would be able to retain Fiala’s services.

“To keep him, we’d have to trade three guys. … It just didn’t fit,” he said, according to The Athletic’s Michael Russo.

Faber, a 19-year-old defenseman, was selected by the Kings in the second round of the 2020 draft. He scored two goals and 12 assists in 32 games for the University of Minnesota in 2021-22.

The Wild now hold picks No. 19 and No. 24 in the first round of the 2022 NHL Draft. Minnesota was in a similar situation in 2021 and took goaltender Jesper Wallstedt and blue-liner Carson Lambos with its pair of first-round selections.

The young Kings enjoyed a strong 2021-22 season that included a surprise trip to the playoffs, where they took the Edmonton Oilers to seven games in the opening round.

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