It’s plain and simple. You need secondary scoring among everything else to be successful in the Stanley Cup playoffs. And no, The Minnesota Wild cannot rely on Kirill Kaprizov to do everything.
Kevin Fiala, the Wild’s second-rising star was wildly disappointing, and quite frankly, a ghost in the series against the St. Louis Blues. It’s a bit hard to believe since he had such an outstanding regular season in which he went over a point-per-game average with 33 goals and 52 assists. Most importantly, a lot of that scoring consistently happened at clutch times.
His numbers during the playoffs were quite cringe if you look closely.
In Game 1, Fiala had just a hair over 20 minutes of ice-time and ended the game a minus-2 and six penalty minutes. His on-ice minutes should’ve been skimmed down by large margin since he was becoming a bit of a liability.
It seemed like for Fiala, the trying to get something going mentality was there, at times. In Game 5, he was able to generate some offensive power that led to him gaining two assists in the game, both of which came on the power play.
But an overall look at all six of his playoff games, statistically overall, there wasn’t even one game that Fiala found himself in the plus category, in fact, three out of the six games he finished minus and the other three games he equaled out at zero.
And it wasn’t like he wasn’t set up for success either.
Fiala found himself on a line that was all too familiar with themselves in Freddy Gaudreau and rookie Matt Boldy but even with that line having such great chemistry, Fiala and company still struggled offensively and that overall hurt he Wild’s chances at taking over any of these games in the scoring department.
What is next for Fiala?
During the regular season, you would’ve thought that Minnesota Wild general manager Bill Guerin would be trying to part seas in order to gain enough cap room to re-sign Fiala to a long-tmer deal at a serious dollar amount,
However, it seems maybe the performance in the playoff’s may have Guerin and company thinking elsewhere and maybe to the extent of trading Fiala this off-season for future assets and picks. It’s a given that Fiala won’t drop his price to stay in Minnesota and perhaps he could benefit even more from being traded.
For now, we as Wild fans will let the dust settle from another disappointing first-round playoff exit and the brain trust of the Wild take us into the adventures the off-season may bring.
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*stats/info found at NHL.com