Well, it just cannot be a postseason without a couple trade rumors swirling around the most meaningful games of the year. And this time, it impacts the Minnesota Wild.
As reported by Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek on the Saturday night broadcast, the New Jersey Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald has been open about potentially trading the team’s 2022 first-round pick, which will be no lower than seventh overall (pending Tuesday’s draft lottery), for an “impact player.” And, reportedly, that player might just be Kevin Fiala.
It is no secret that the Wild are going to have to do some extreme cap finagling if they hope to keep the Swiss star, as the buyout penalties of Ryan Suter and Zach Parise increase to approximately $12.75-million. All year long, they have been re-signing current Minnesota players to longer extensions as they try to figure the puzzle out and fit as many good pieces in. The entire blue line has been solidified for next year, with no one but newcomer Jake Middleton on an expiring deal, and players like Jordan Greenway, have been signed to multi-year deals with a focus on length, to keep the cap number down.
Now, is a top pick in this year’s draft an adequate return? Well, as long as the Wild are confident in who they choose and confident in the other forwards stepping up in Fiala’s absence next season, since that player will be at least one year away from joining the team. It would be extremely tough to replace the dynamism Fiala provides on offense — scoring a career-high 33 goals and 85 points this season — as well on the penalty kill, but as head coach Dean Evason loves to point out — every Minnesota Wild player can play with any Minnesota Wild player.
Fiala is set to become an unrestricted free agent in 2023, so realistically, this would be trading just one single year of the winger being in Minnesota before heading off to get his deserving piles of cash somewhere else. It seems like an inevitable move, but we can still say it will suck ass to see him go.