Kevin Fiala has no hard feelings toward Wild, excited about opportunity with Kings
Just doing some basic arithmetic, the 25-year-old Fiala figured the Wild wouldn’t be able to afford him this offseason
As much as he tried to ignore it last season, Kevin Fiala could see the writing on the wall.
Just doing some basic arithmetic, the 25-year-old winter from Switzerland figured the Wild wouldn’t be able to afford him this offseason.
In the end, Wild general manager Bill Guerin flipped Fiala to the Los Angeles Kings last week in a blockbuster move that could alter the trajectory of both franchises.
“I think Kevin has really turned into a special player the past couple of years,” Guerin said last week. “We wish him nothing but the best in Los Angeles.”
Talking to reporters on Tuesday for the first time since the trade, Fiala expressed excitement about his future.
“You kind of realized that it wouldn’t work (with the Wild) and it didn’t,” Fiala said. “It is what it is right now. To be honest, I’m really excited right now for this new chapter.”
Shortly after trading for Fiala last week, Kings general manager Rob Blake signed him to a 7-year, $55.125 million contract.
“When we knew we had an opportunity to get a player of Kevin’s caliber, that took the forefront right away,” Blake said. “We were going to make sure that we got that in place because that would be the biggest improvement to our team.”
Asked why he signed long term with the Kings following the trade, Fiala heaped praise on their growth over the past couple of seasons.
“Just saw a great opportunity,” Fiala said. “They are just getting better and better and got some great young players coming. The future is bright I felt like, so I’m very happy with this.”
Though he had his fair share of ups and down during his time with the Wild — something that resulted in some healthy scratches — Fiala ultimately turned into the gamebreaker former general manager Paul Fenton always believed he could be.
He finished last season with a career-high 33 goals and 52 assists, and maybe more importantly, proved he can be a valuable player in every facet of the game.
“For me, the next step was to be an all-around player,” Fiala said. “You can’t just be offense. You have to be reliable on both sides. I think as the season went on, I got better and better at it. It was more fun to play because coach trusted me more and more.”
Now he is taking his talents elsewhere. What is Fiala going to miss most about his time with the Wild?
“The guys,” he said. “It was a great group of guys there, and I will miss them for sure. On the other hand, I’m very, very excited to join the Kings. I couldn’t be happier.”
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