Kevin Fiala's RFA Rights Traded to Kings; Wild Get 1st-Round Draft Pick, Brock Faber

Erin WalshJune 29, 2022

ST. LOUIS, MO - MAY 06: Minnesota Wild leftwing Kevin Fiala (22) during game 3 of the first round of the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs between the Minnesota Wild  and the St. Louis Blues on May 06, 2022, at Enterprise Center, St. Louis, MO.  (Photo by Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images),
Icon Sportswire

Kevin Fiala's career with the Minnesota Wild has come to a close.

The Wild have traded the rights to Fiala, a pending restricted free agent, to the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for Brock Faber and the team's 2022 first-round draft pick, the team announced Wednesday.

The expectation is that Fiala will sign a long-term extension with the Kings, according to TSN's Chris Johnston. NHL insider Elliotte Friedman added that he believes the extension will be worth around $7.9 million annually.

David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period reported that the Kings were given permission to negotiate an extension with Fiala before the trade was finalized. He added that the deal is expected to be for seven years.

David Pagnotta @TheFourthPeriod

The Kings were granted permission to negotiate an extension with Fiala prior to this trade being finalized. <br><br>7 years x $7.875M <a href="https://t.co/ZmnjeXi7Xk">https://t.co/ZmnjeXi7Xk</a>

The Nashville Predators selected Fiala 11th overall in the 2014 NHL draft. In 204 games across four-and-a-half seasons with the Preds, he tallied 45 goals and 52 assists for 97 points.

Nashville traded Fiala to Minnesota during the 2018-19 season in exchange for Mikael Granlund. He had an impressive career with the Wild, tallying 79 goals and 107 assists for 186 points in 215 games.

The 25-year-old had a breakout 2021-22 campaign, notching a career-high 33 goals and 52 assists for 85 points in 82 games, and was due for a pretty significant extension after earning $5.1 million last season.

However, Minnesota would not have been able to pay Fiala the $7.9 million per year he is expected to receive from Los Angeles. The Wild are projected to have about $6.6 million in salary-cap space, according to CapFriendly, and they need to re-sign some other players as well as make some offseason additions if they hope to contend for a title in 2022-23.

The Wild finished the 2021-22 season second in the Central Division with a 53-22-7 record. However, they fell to the St. Louis Blues in the first round of the playoffs despite posting the first season of 50-plus wins in franchise history.

As for the Kings, they finished third in the Pacific Division with a 44-27-11 record but fell in the first round of the playoffs to the Edmonton Oilers. It was an impressive season, but the franchise could have certainly used some depth on the wings.

It's unclear how L.A. plans to use Fiala. However, he will likely slot in on the top line alongside Anze Kopitar and Adrian Kempe. He could also fit on the second line with Phillip Danault and former Preds teammate Viktor Arvidsson.

The Kings have a nice mix of seasoned veterans and youngsters in Quinton Byfield, Arthur Kaliyev, Jordan Spence and Tobias Bjornfot. That mix of experience and young blood should benefit the franchise in its pursuit of another Stanley Cup.

That said, the franchise now does not have a first-round pick in the 2022 draft to add to its already-talented group, as the No. 19 selection has been traded to the Wild.

As for Faber, the Kings selected the defenseman in the second round of the 2020 NHL draft, and he has spent the last two seasons playing college hockey for the University of Minnesota. During the 2021-22 campaign, he tallied two goals and 12 assists for 14 points in 32 games.

Faber also appeared in four games for Team USA at the Beijing Olympics, posting one assist.

Michael Russo @RussoHockey

Brock Faber was working on an essay for college when the trade went down. World-class skater, tough, right-shot defenseman, an area where the Wild are light in the prospect pool

It's unclear when Faber might make his debut for the Wild, but considering he currently plays for the University of Minnesota and is a Minnesota native, this trade must be a dream come true for the 19-year-old.