The Kings made a lot of noise in the commercial market on Wednesday with their acquisition of prolific striker Kevin Fiala, but on the other hand remained silent until Thursday.
Fiala arrives in Los Angeles from the Minnesota Wild, whose general manager Bill Guerin spoke extensively about the deal on Wednesday. Fiala split his career almost evenly between the organization that recruited him in the 11th overall in 2014, the Nashville Predators, and Minnesota, where he arrived in February 2019. In 204 games with Nashville, he scored 97 points, but in 215 games with Minnesota , did amass 186 points, including 85 in his headliner campaign last season.
“I think Kevin has become a special player in the last two years in Minnesota,” Guerin said.
Guerin admitted that as time went on, it became increasingly clear that his staff could not maneuver in a way that would allow for a contract extension for Fiala: he accepted a new seven-year contract with the Kings for an average value of 7.875 million dollars per season. , the team confirmed –– and improved the Minnesota squad.
While exchanging a points producer per game that demonstrated linear progress up to the age of 25 was a hard pill to swallow, Guerin appreciated the Kings ’direct and honest approach among which he hinted that they were numerous suitors. Instead of waiting until the next NHL draft pick, Guerin opted to pull the trigger on a deal he considered “fair value,” achieving a local product in the defense of the University of Minnesota, Brock Faber, and the 19th overall draft pick. 2022, which meant Minnesota would have multiple first-round picks in two consecutive drafts.
“The teams asked,” Guerin said. “I don’t want to get into corners, but LA, they got in right away and they were serious right away. There was no process of tire kicking or distrust … so it was easy to make a deal.”
Although the Wild and Kings have never met in the playoffs, there has been some animosity among the banks in recent years. The Wilds were temporarily transferred to the Kings division in 2021 and faced each other eight times, with the Wild winning six of those matches and then two of three in 2021-22.
That familiarity did not stop Guerin and Kings GM, Rob Blake, from making a deal that would fill a significant gap for the Kings on the left side of his top line while allowing Minnesota to regain a solid return for a pending restricted free agent who could not . allow yourself to sign.
“If you cut the league in half, that really limits your business partners,” Guerin said. “If we’re worried about it all the time, we’ll never make deals.”
The exchange left the Kings without a selection in the first round in the draft, to be held on July 7 and 8 in Montreal, which establishes the first instance since 2016 that they will not make a selection in round 1. That was the fourth draft in six years they didn’t own a first-round pick, after they had everything to maintain the success that allowed them to reach the conference finals three times and win two Stanley Cups between 2012 and 2014.
He also reduced his prospective group and depth in right-wing defense, where Faber excelled in college and international play. The Kings, however, had some embarrassing wealth in both areas, with their prospect group consistently ranking in the top five among several publications and a surplus of correct defense at all levels of the organization.
Last season, injuries to Drew Doughty and Sean Walker provided opportunities for Jordan Spence and Sean Durzi. Meanwhile, Brandt Clarke is the Kings ’top prospect in junior hockey and Helge Grans aims to anchor the right side with his top minor league affiliate next season. The six rearguards mentioned play on the right side.
Guerin was excited to add Faber, the Minnesota native and U.S. Olympian he called “a high-end prospect,” to his own blue aspiring stable.
“You can never have too many defenses. And we’re very proud of the guys we have,” Guerin said. “In this upcoming Junior World Championship, I think we will have three defenses in the Canadian team and two defenses in the US team.”
For their part, the Kings transformed their group of strikers into the top six in just two years. Although Anze Kopitar, who has led the Kings in scoring for 12 of the last 14 seasons, remains the fulcrum, the pieces have changed around him quickly.
The appearance of Adrian Kempe as a 35-goal scorer gave him a consistent formula mate, as well as longtime cohort Dustin Brown was willing to retire. Fiala will now complete that line, and the Kings can only expect their chemistry to match that of the second line, which materialized in the middle of last season.
The acquisition of Viktor Arvidsson via exchange, the signing of free agent Phillip Danault and the promotion of Trevor Moore within the lineup formed an unexpectedly powerful trio. If their consistency can continue and be matched by the front line with the addition of Fiala, the Kings could be winning more games more comfortably next season.
Why trading Kevin Fiala to the Kings made sense for the Minnesota Wild – Press Telegram Source link Why trading Kevin Fiala to the Kings made sense for the Minnesota Wild – Press Telegram