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Wild trade Kevin Fiala to Kings for first-round draft pick and Gophers captain Brock Faber

The 25-year-old Fiala is fresh off the best season of his career in which he scored 33 goals, 52 assists, and 85 points.

NHL: Seattle Kraken at Minnesota Wild
Minnesota Wild left wing Kevin Fiala (22) celebrates his fifth assist of the night against the Seattle Kraken on a goal scored by Minnesota Wild forward Nicolas Deslauriers (not pictured) during a 2022 game at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
Nick Wosika / USA Today Sports
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ST. PAUL — It felt like only a matter of time before the Wild traded star winger Kevin Fiala. And that time has officially come.

On Wednesday afternoon, the Wild flipped Fiala’s rights to the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for their first-round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft, plus Gophers men’s hockey captain Brock Faber.

Fiala, a 25-year-old from Switzerland, is coming off the best season of his blossoming career in which he had 33 goals and 52 assists for 85 points. In a perfect world for the Wild, general manager Bill Guerin would have been able to keep Fiala around long term, pairing him with the team’s other star winger, Kirill Kaprizov, for the foreseeable future.

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But with Fiala in line for a big contract this offseason, and the Wild still dealing with the consequences of buying out the big contracts of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter last offseason, a trade felt likely ahead of next week’s draft. In total, Fiala finished his Wild career with 79 goals, 107 assists and 186 points in 215 games.

Looking at the pieces coming back in blockbuster move, the Wild received the No. 19 pick in the 2022 NHL Draft, to go along with Faber, a Minnesota native that figures to develop into a solid player NHL blue liner. The 6-foot-1, 200-pound defenseman was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year this past season, as well as First Team All Big Ten. He also represented the United States at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.

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Team USA's Brock Faber (14) warms up before the men's ice hockey preliminary round
Team USA's Brock Faber (14) warms up before the men's ice hockey preliminary round against Canada at the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games. Faber, a Minnesota Gophers defenseman, was acquired by the Minnesota Wild in a trade with the Los Angeles Kings.
George Walker IV / USA Today Sports

Is that a big enough return for someone of Fiala’s stature? That remains to be seen.

Originally acquired by the Wild on February 25, 2019, Fiala took massive strides as a member of the organization. He went from a frustrating player with a tantalizing skill set to a legitimate game breaker that carried the Wild many times over the past couples of seasons.

That improvement from Fiala is a big reason he’s no longer on the roster. His next contract will likely pay him in the upwards of $8 million, money the Wild simply do not have with roughly $12.7 million in dead cap tied up in the Parise and Suter buyouts for the 2022-23 season. That figure will jump to roughly $14.7 million in dead cap for the 2023-24 season and 2024-25 season.

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