The Minnesota Wild avoided heading to arbitration with one of their top young forwards on Monday morning, agreeing to terms with Kevin Fiala on a one-year deal worth $5.1 million.
Fiala, who finished second in team scoring last season, will be a restricted free agent next summer.
Locking in Fiala was one of the most important boxes for the Wild to check on their offseason to-do list, perhaps only behind finding a new deal for the still-unsigned Kiril Kaprizov. But bringing Fiala back into the fold is an undoubted win for general manager, Bill Guerin.
The 25-year-old is a key piece of Minnesota's exciting youth movement that burst onto the scene in 2021, with Fiala racking up an impressive 40 points in 50 games last season while also having led the Wild in overall scoring over the past two seasons combined.
Fiala's underlying numbers paint a pretty picture, as well. A positive possession player in each of his seven full NHL seasons, Fiala can drive play at a top-six rate while contributing in the upper echelon of NHLers at 5v5. His defense leaves something to be desired, as is typically the case with offense-first wingers, but his scoring and play-driving more than makes up for it.
Despite only being in his mid-20s, Fiala is already an established goal-scorer with three 20-goal seasons to his name while only now entering his prime. The Switzerland-native is only bound to get better, with himself, Kaprizov, Joel Eriksson-Ek, and Jordan Greenway forming an emerging young Wild core that will likely define the next decade of Minnesota hockey.
While it would have been nice to negotiate a longer-term pact, ensuring Fiala will hit the ice in a Wild sweater next season is a job well done.