The Minnesota Wild traded restricted free agent forward Kevin Fiala to the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for the Kings' 2022 first-round pick and University of Minnesota defenseman Brock Faber on Wednesday.
Fiala, 25, had 33 goals and 52 assists for the Wild in 82 games last season, posting a career-best average of 3.5 points per 60 minutes. The Swiss-born winger is entering his ninth NHL season, having spent four years with the Wild and five with the Nashville Predators. For his career, Fiala has 124 goals and 159 assists in 419 games.
The Wild sought to move Fiala because of a salary-cap crunch. They previously bought out the contracts of forward Zach Parise and defenseman Ryan Suter last summer. They had just over $4.7 million in dead cap space last season due to those buyouts; that dead cap space increases to over $12.7 million this season and then $14.7 million through 2025.
Fiala was an arbitration-eligible restricted free agent. He will sign a contract extension with Los Angeles, sources told ESPN, and it is expected to be in the area of seven years with a $7.9 million average annual value against the salary cap. He made $5.1 million against the cap last season on a one-year contract with Minnesota.
The Kings' selection in the first round is the 19th overall pick. The Wild also pick 24th overall.
Faber, 19, is a highly regarded defensive prospect who completed his sophomore season with the University of Minnesota. Faber also played four games in the 2022 Beijing Olympics with the U.S. men's national hockey team. Faber was drafted by the Kings in second round (45th overall) of the 2020 NHL draft.
The trade signals another aggressive move toward contention for the Kings, who made the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time since 2018 this season. They made a free-agent splash last summer with center Phillip Danault and are now dipping into their deep prospect pool to add another veteran difference-maker to their roster.