The Los Angeles Kings made a splash on Wednesday afternoon, acquiring Kevin Fiala from the Minnesota Wild, which should benefit their future core.
After acquiring the Swiss winger from the Wild, the Kings immediately signed him to a lucrative seven-year extension worth $7.875 million annually. Fiala is coming off his best season in the NHL, recording a career-high 33 goals and 85 points.
WELCOME TO LA, KEVIN!— LA Kings (@LAKings) June 29, 2022
We've acquired Kevin Fiala from the @mnwild in exchange for D Brock Faber and our 2022 first-round pick.
The Kings had been looking to upgrade their top-six wingers, and they did that by acquiring Fiala, who represents another dynamic threat up front. The price wasn’t small, using their first-round pick (19th overall) and top defensive prospect Brock Faber to get the deal done. The Kings have a surplus of prospects in their system and own one of the deepest pools in the NHL, allowing them to make this deal. The emergence of defensive players like Sean Durzi, Jordan Spence, and Tobias Bjornfot likely helped make Faber expendable, with other defense prospects such as Brandt Clarke and Helge Grans waiting in the wings.
Even after making this trade, the Kings haven’t seen a shift in their 2023 Stanley Cup odds, which still sit at +3500. The Kings play in a division that is currently reasonably top-heavy with the Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames, and Vegas Golden Knights. The Golden Knights missed out on the playoffs last season, but it’s hard to see them battling injuries like they did last season, so it’s a safe bet there will be plenty of competition in this division.
Not only does Fiala give the Kings an offensive upgrade, but he also gives the team more scoring depth, something they lacked in their playoff series against the Oilers. The Kings have some intriguing prospects close to making the jump to the NHL, including Alex Turcotte, Quinton Byfield, and Gabriel Vilardi.
After signing Phillip Danault in free agency last year, the Kings have a bright future down the middle of the ice, led by veteran Anze Kopitar. The Kings were likely looking to push Alex Iafallo down the lineup, which is what the Fiala acquisition does. Fiala should suit up on the top line with Kopitar and Adrian Kempe, who had a career-high 35 goals last season.
Fiala likely isn’t a bonafide superstar in the NHL, but after showing his full potential last season, there’s no reason he can’t continue producing at this level in LA. Even if this didn’t cause any direct line movement with the Kings, there’s little doubt that Rob Blake will be busy in the coming weeks, meaning you should buy into this price before it continues climbing.