The Emergence of Kevin Fiala

ST. PAUL, MN - MARCH 14: Kevin Fiala #22 of the Minnesota Wild lines up for a face-off during a game with the Dallas Stars at Xcel Energy Center on March 14, 2019 in St. Paul, Minnesota.(Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images)
ST. PAUL, MN - MARCH 14: Kevin Fiala #22 of the Minnesota Wild lines up for a face-off during a game with the Dallas Stars at Xcel Energy Center on March 14, 2019 in St. Paul, Minnesota.(Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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Kevin Fiala has risen in Minnesota, we talk about his rise and how players around him have developed with his play.

CALGARY, AB – MARCH 2: Kevin Fiala #22 of the Minnesota Wild in action against the Calgary Flames during an NHL game at Scotiabank Saddledome on March 2, 2019, in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images)
CALGARY, AB – MARCH 2: Kevin Fiala #22 of the Minnesota Wild in action against the Calgary Flames during an NHL game at Scotiabank Saddledome on March 2, 2019, in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images) /

The rise of Kevin Fiala this season in the Wild’s lineup is something that hasn’t been talked about enough in my opinion. The date was February 25th, 2019, NHL Trade Deadline day for the 2018-2019 season and then Wild GM Paul Fenton made a deal with the Nashville Predators sending Mikael Granlund to the Predators in exchange for Kevin Fiala.

At the time of the trade, Fiala was sitting at 10 goals and 22 assists in 64 games & Granlund had 15 goals and 34 in 63 games. Post-trade Fiala was only able to muster up 3 goals and 4 assists in the remaining 19 games for the Wild. A lot of the fanbase was convinced that David Poile had fleeced his former Assistant GM in acquiring Granlund from Fenton but this was just the beginning.

SAINT PAUL, MN – FEBRUARY 6: Brad Hunt #77 celebrates his goal with Kevin Fiala #22 of the Minnesota Wild against the Vancouver Canucks during the game at the Xcel Energy Center on February 6, 2019, in Saint Paul, Minnesota. (Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images)
SAINT PAUL, MN – FEBRUARY 6: Brad Hunt #77 celebrates his goal with Kevin Fiala #22 of the Minnesota Wild against the Vancouver Canucks during the game at the Xcel Energy Center on February 6, 2019, in Saint Paul, Minnesota. (Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images) /

On paper, the Wild may have seemed to get a less productive player in Fiala that season but wait a second, this was Paul Fenton attempting to bring a speedy, flashy young player in the fold in Minnesota to perhaps kick start what we all know now could be a breakdown and rebuild with the bigger picture still in current GM Bill Guerin’s mind.

Fiala started this season pretty much where he ended last season in slow production going scoreless in the Wild’s first 3 games of this season. After those first 3 games, Fiala has become one of the most consistent scorers in the Minnesota lineup going on spontaneous point streaks throughout this season and most recently kicking off this month of February with 5 goals & 5 assists in 8 games which includes 3 multi-point games. Production-wise, Fiala is 3rd on the Wild with points only behind Ryan Suter and Eric Staal. Fiala’s currently on track to score 21 goals and 37 assists, which is one point ahead of what Site Expert Lake Martin projected in August.

ST. PAUL, MN – MARCH 25: Kevin Fiala #22 of the Minnesota Wild takes a shot on goal 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 shot on goal 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) /

There couldn’t have been a better time for Fiala to emerge himself in the Wild lineup that has seen Jason Zucker shipped out to Pittsburgh via trade and Bruce Boudreau fired at the hands of Bill Guerin.

Fiala and other fellow young Minnesota Wild players Luke Kunin, Joel Eriksson Ek & Jordan Greenway find their-selves becoming the new core for the Wild and with the impending arrival of Kirill Kaprizov next season, Fiala and company will have to continue to push themselves and not force Bill Guerin to make any of them available. As long as this young core continues to thrive, I do no believe Guerin will look to move any of the above.

So many mysteries with this Minnesota Wild squad, it’ll be a continued evaluation not only for Kevin Fiala but the team as a whole.