NHL Rumors: Kevin Fiala a New Jersey Devils target?

nhl rumors kevin fiala
May 4, 2022; Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Wild left wing Kevin Fiala (22) celebrates his goal against the St. Louis Blues in the first period in game two of the first round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Wild signed forward Kevin Fiala to a one-year deal worth $5.1 million last summer narrowly avoiding an arbitration hearing.

At the time, Fiala’s camp seeking a $6.25M award as the Wild countered with an offer of $4M. Now he’s going to be asking for a whole lot more.

After a season that saw the 25 year-old pending RFA on July 13 score 85 points in 82 games, there’s some wondering if he may be playing elsewhere next year.

NHL Rumors: Kevin Fiala

On HNIC’s latest 32 Thoughts segment, Jeff Marek brought up Fiala and tied him to the New Jersey Devils.

“I’m told the New Jersey Devils really do like Kevin Fiala,” Jeff Marek said. “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.”

That cap crunch is 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.

So it may behoove GM Bill 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 with Jesperi Kotkaniemi and it was one of the reason Marc Bergevin lost his job.

What would a trade for Kevin Fiala look like

kevin fiala rumors
May 26, 2021; Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Wild forward Kevin Fiala (22) celebrates his goal against Vegas Golden Knights in the third period in game six of the first round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The New Jersey Devils missed the playoffs for the fourth straight time after going 27-46-9 for 63 points and Fitzgerald is considering making a big move this summer.

He’s already openly stated that he would trade his first round pick.

“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

Currently, the Devils are fifth and have an 8.5% chance of winning the lottery and moving into first overall. If they do, I highly doubt they will pass up the opportunity to draft top prospect Shane Wright.

Still, if they don’t land the #1 selection, moving their pick along with a player like Pavel Zacha may be the start of a package for Fiala. The Devils will certainly need to give up something else, but already this is a better return than any offer-sheet compensation.

Zacha, 25, is also an RFA but should fit better in Minnesota’s cap situation. This past season, he potted 36 points in 70 games.