What Should the Minnesota Wild Expect from a Full Season of Kevin Fiala?

ST. PAUL, MN - MARCH 25: Kevin Fiala #22 of the Minnesota Wild takes a breather during a game with the Nashville Predators at Xcel Energy Center on March 25, 2019 in St. Paul, Minnesota. (Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images)
ST. PAUL, MN - MARCH 25: Kevin Fiala #22 of the Minnesota Wild takes a breather during a game with the Nashville Predators at Xcel Energy Center on March 25, 2019 in St. Paul, Minnesota. (Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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WINNIPEG, MB – FEBRUARY 26: Kevin Fiala #22 of the Minnesota Wild plays the puck down the ice as Patrik Laine #29 of the Winnipeg Jets gives chase during first period action at the Bell MTS Place on February 26, 2019 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. (Photo by Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images)
WINNIPEG, MB – FEBRUARY 26: Kevin Fiala #22 of the Minnesota Wild plays the puck down the ice as Patrik Laine #29 of the Winnipeg Jets gives chase during first period action at the Bell MTS Place on February 26, 2019 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. (Photo by Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images) /

Alright, stop me if you heard this already about a different Minnesota Wild forward.

Kevin Fiala will enter the year motivated as ever to go on a tear and prove his worth to his team.

Sound like Jason Zucker, Zach Parise, Jared Spurgeon, Matt Dumba?

It should. This team was fairly embarrassed by the end of the year, and if there is anything professionals hate, it is being embarrassed. Several Wild players are entering the year looking to have a career season, which is why I don’t think projections that the Minnesota Wild are going to be abysmal are accurate. Any single/combination of Ryan Donato, Kevin Fiala, Joel Eriksson Ek, Jordan Greenway, or Luke Kunin could become bonafide NHL players and become crucial to the future of the Wild’s success.

With Kevin Fiala on his second NHL team and the GM who had drafted him on to his first-team just recently fired, he has to prove his place on the roster to the new GM- whoever it might be. The numbers suggest he had a down year and with his age, it’s unlikely he’ll have another season of struggle. Between the 2017-2018 season and 2018-2019 season, Kevin Fiala produced near-identical assist numbers but scored 10 fewer goals in a season where he only had 3% fewer shots on goal. Fiala’s shooting percentage dropped from 12.3% to 7.5%, something Jason Zucker is familiar with; He went from 14.9% to 9.8%. I imagine Fiala and Zucker will both see their shooting percentages rise back to what they saw their numbers at previously. And with Fiala likely playing on a line with Kunin and Parise, there will be no shortage of opportunities for Fiala to produce.

Kevin Fiala is simply too good to repeat the year he just had. My optimistic point total for Fiala is 25 goals-32 assists for 57 points. Let’s hope he exceeds it.