The Minnesota Wild are at front and center yet again and it is because they traded away star winger Kevin Fiala to the Los Angeles Kings, in return for the 19th overall pick next month and top defenseman prospect Brock Faber. Of course a mountainous pile of context is needed to understand why Minnesota would trade Fiala — including contract negotiation, upcoming free agency, their own cap restrictions — but what do we think about the trade?
Let’s go around the virtual writers’ room and find out.
Thomas — The Fiala trade, unfortunately, needs that context of what situation the Wild are currently in. They just simply did not have the cap space to pay him — or really the desire to pay him, either — and considering that he is just one year away from unrestricted free agency, the timing of the trade makes sense as well. They are losing one of their top offensive talents, but surely feel that they can adequately replace his production by a couple additions or increased roles of current players.
As for the return, getting the 19th overall pick in this draft isn’t terrible — but a little disappointing after the rumor of the Ottawa Senators flaunting the seventh overall out there — and Brock Faber is a very good defenseman prospect, that should jump to the top of the Wild’s system in that position immediately, and has the benefit of being From Here. Minnesota has bolstered their future even further but it took the unfortunate sacrifice of Fiala because they put themselves in that dire financial situation. A mixed bag.
Justin — I think this trade says a lot about Bill Guerin’s sense of this year’s trade market. I was initially underwhelmed with the return after hearing rumors of the New Jersey Devils parting with their second-overall pick or the Ottawa Senators parting with their seventh-overall pick in exchange for Fiala. While it was reported that these teams were interested in adding a major piece like Fiala to polish off their rebuilds, it was never confirmed that these picks were on the table.
In all of the discussion of demand for Kevin Fiala, I believe that the supply of similar assets went comparably un-discussed. There are an unusual amount of offensive stars rumored to be available for trade this off-season, including Alex Debrincat of the Chicago Blackhawks and David Pastrnak of the Boston Bruins. With all that said, the acquisition of a high-end shutdown defense prospect plus a first-round pick for a player that the team knew it couldn’t afford is a good return in a saturated trade market.
Matt — The sky-high rumored return of a second-overall pick from the Ottawa Senators or the seventh-overall selection from the New Jersey Devils was likely never on the table. Throw in the developing rumors of Alex Debrincat and David Pastrnak’s availability on the market, and Fiala was far from being the best offensively-productive winger available (for the right price).
It feels like the return should have been greater, but there may be something to investing in an NCAA-developed defenseman, judging by the rise of their ilk around the league; Adam Fox, Cale Makar, and Charlie McAvoy have all made immediate impacts jumping from the NCAA straight to the NHL, despite their young ages. Brock Faber doesn’t have Makar or McAvoy’s draft pedigree, but he was drafted at a higher spot — 45th overall — than Fox.
The 19th overall pick isn’t likely to generate a star, but with the cap crunch that the Wild have found themselves, draft capital is especially valuable to this organization.
I’m a fan of what Guerin has done with a tough situation.
Grace — Listen, I don’t need a single one of you pulling back any quotes from previous pieces or roundtables or tweets where I confidently declared anything under a 10th overall would be a failure, because I’m actually completely fine with this return. I don’t know what to tell y’all!!! We’re all confident and brazen in May! We don’t know anything!!!!
I like Brock Faber, I like NCAA developed defenseman. He’s a great skater, a RHD. Plus like #oneofus or whatever (ahhh except I’m a Nebraskan, so more like #oneofyou). I also don’t hate that Brackett/Guerin and co have racked up four picks in the top 56 (19, 24, 47, 56). I think there’s some room for discussion about whether we expect this means Guerin’s looking to shop Dumba or Addison soon or if he’s hoarding everyone until we can leverage all of these prospects we’ll develop for the next few years. I look forward to the conversation either way (I love gossip.)
I won’t say I wasn’t sort of daydreaming about my Fiala Devils or Sens jersey purchase (I will not be buying a Kings one, lol) and the 2OA or 7OA that came with it all day, but like realistically I thought a first round pick and good prospect was fair value and that’s exactly what we got. Also $8 million AAV for our boy, good for him! He deserves it.