June 30: The team has now officially announced the seven-year extension, which will carry a cap hit of $7.875MM. CapFriendly reported yesterday that the contract includes a no-movement clause in years 2-4 and a limited no-trade clause in years 5-7.
June 29: The Los Angeles Kings have acquired the restricted free agent rights to winger Kevin Fiala from the Minnesota Wild in exchange for their 2022 first-round selection and defense prospect Brock Faber, per The Athletic’s Michael Russo. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman was the first to report Fiala heading to Southern California.
As confirmed by the league just hours earlier, the Los Angeles selection that the Wild are acquiring will be the 19th overall pick in the 2022 NHL Draft. The Wild now own picks 19 and 24 in the first round.
It’s important to note an extension between the Kings and Fiala still needs to be worked out, but with the Kings having nearly $20MM in projected cap space this summer per CapFriendly (and Fiala having arbitration rights), the contract itself is an eventuality, with TSN’s Chris Johnston reporting there’s a long-term extension in place. Friedman is reporting a cap hit of $7.9MM, and Johnston is reporting a seven-year term.
It’s hard to think that Fiala won’t become a spectacular fit within the Kings organization. The 25-year-old’s 85 points in 2021-22 would have led the Kings by 18, with Anze Kopitar leading them in scoring with 67 points. It’s also hard to think that Fiala won’t join a line with Kopitar (and likely 2022 All-Star Adrian Kempe) as the Kings’ top unit. Suddenly, with a support group behind them that includes Phillip Danault, Viktor Arvidsson, Alex Iafallo, and up-and-comers like Quinton Byfield and Arthur Kaliyev, Los Angeles looks poised to build on last year’s playoff appearance and solidify themselves as real players in the Western Conference. Of note, it’s also a reunion between Fiala and Arvidsson, who both were developed and got their starts with the Nashville Predators.
While it’s no top-five pick like some expected, the Wild get two quality pieces in return for Fiala as well. Faber, a Minnesota native, exploded onto the scene this year as one of the premier two-way defense prospects in the game, notching 14 points in 32 games with the University of Minnesota and getting the call to the United States Olympic team. Just 19 years old, Faber was the 45th overall selection in the 2020 draft by the Kings. The Wild are also likely to receive a high-upside prospect with the 19th overall pick. Some potential selections, according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie’s rankings based on NHL scout surveys, are another Minnesota native in Jimmy Snuggerud (ranked 17th), Czech utility forward Jiri Kulich (ranked 18th), Russian sniper (and cancer survivor) Ivan Miroschnichenko (ranked 19th), sniper and University of Minnesota-Duluth commit Isaac Howard (ranked 20th), or Swedish forwards Liam Ohgren and Noah Ostlund (ranked 21st and 22nd). While none of those likely have the offensive upside of Fiala, combined with the addition of Faber, it seems to be close to fair value at first impression.
Expect this deal to open the floodgates for moves and deals ahead of the 2022 NHL Draft next week.
The Athletic’s Michael Russo was the first to report the full details of the trade.