Minnesota Wild effort to trade Kevin Fiala “intensifying”

kevin fiala
May 10, 2022; Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA; St. Louis Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington (50) makes a save Minnesota Wild left wing Kevin Fiala (22) looks for the rebound in game five of the first round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Matt Blewett-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Wild may be very close to trading Kevin Fiala as has been rumored since the end of their season. According to a new report by Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, “things are intensifying” regarding the talented forward.

Before the start of this season he signed a one-year deal worth $5.1 million to avoid arbitration. At that time, Fiala’s camp was seeking a $6.25M award with the Wild countering with an offer of $4M.

Fiala, 25, went on to post big numbers with 85 points in 82 games. He is a pending RFA on July 13 and his next contract is expected to be more than the Wild can afford.

Wild likely to trade Kevin Fiala

The Minnesota Wild are dealing with a cap crunch due in large part to buying out both Zach Parise and Ryan Suter. Minnesota will have $12.7 million in dead cap space in 2022-23 and $14.7 million in 2023-24 and 2024-2025. Because of this, the Wild are wide open to an offer sheet for Fiala that they simply can’t match.

Per CapFriendly, the Wild have only $6.5M in space to work with, and you can rest assured that Fiala wants more than that.

Instead of taking the potential compensation, which depends on the the offer sheet amount, GM Bill Guerin would be better off trading his rights.

Example: If Fiala signs an offer sheet between $4.2M to $6.3M Minnesota would get a 1st and 3rd. Should the offer be between $6.302M to $8.4M it is a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd.

Who is interested in Kevin Fiala

kevin fiala trade rumors
Oct 24, 2021; Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Wild forward Kevin Fiala (22) shoots during the second period against the Nashville Predators at Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

There’s been a number of teams linked to Fiala, but only a handful seem like legit candidates.

The Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators, and L.A. Kings certainly have the assets to get a deal done. However, the team that has been mentioned most often are the New Jersey Devils.

“I’m told the New Jersey Devils really do like Kevin Fiala,” Jeff Marek said on HNIC. “I’m sure they can see him playing with fellow countryman Nico Hischier as well. The Minnesota Wild will be going through a cap crunch next season.”

Based on this information it makes sense for Guerin to call up Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald and work a deal instead of losing him for draft picks. That’s what happened to the Montreal Canadiens when the Carolina Hurricanes pressed the Habs’ cap issues to steal Jesperi Kotkaniemi with an offer sheet.

New Jersey, who holds the #2 pick in the draft have openly stated they are willing to trade it for the right player. There’s no doubt in my mind that Fiala is exactly the type of player they’d trade it for.

“I said this two drafts ago (2020), when we had the three first-round picks, I’m open to whatever can help our team improve,” Fitzgerald said Thursday. “If that is using a pick like that, wherever it may be, to help bring in a player that we know, and feel, will help impact the results that we are looking for, absolutely.” 

NHL.com

Another thing the Devils can do is sweeten the deal with a good NHL player. They have their own unsigned RFA and a more affordable option in Pavel Zacha that they can include in the deal.

Zacha, 25, registered 36 points in 70 games this past season. He is coming off a 3-year deal with an AAV of $2.25M and is exactly the type of low cost forward the Wild need.