With training camp for the Minnesota Wild slated to start Thursday, Sept. 12, it appeared that the Wild and Kevin Fiala were headed for an extended standoff over his contract. That matter can be put to bed, as the Wild announced that they have signed the 23-year old winger to a two-year, $6 million contract.
The Wild acquired Fiala from the Nashville Predators at the deadline this past season for Mikael Granlund. Then general manager, Paul Fenton, labeled Fiala as a gamebreaker. Fiala showed flashes of that gamebreaking ability in 19 games with the Wild, but he also had long stretches of disappearing. In those 19 games, Fiala scored three goals and recorded four assists, with two of those goals coming in the same game against the Predators.
The 11th overall pick in the 2014 draft is a candidate to have a breakout season and Wild coach, Bruce Boudreau hinted that Fiala could play on the second-line this season. It was imperative that Fiala not miss camp has he gears up for what could be his coming out party.
There is this quote from Wild’s general manager, Bill Guerin from a recent interview with The Athletic’s Michael Russo.
"We want to get him in as quick as possible because if you miss training camp, the chances of you having a good year aren’t very good. We want to get him in here and get him going. I’m just speaking from experience that you’re better off being in camp than not. For Kevin’s sake and our sake, I hope he’s there, I really do.”"
For a team that lacks ‘gamebreakers’ the Wild need Fiala to become the player that Fenton believed he was. He’s flashed that gamebreaking talent, now it’s time for him to put it all together and become a more consistent player. If he does that the Wild will have a good shot of getting back into the postseason.