Things are falling apart between the Minnesota Wild and forward Kevin Fiala. He did skate in Wednesday’s 2-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues, but he was scratched a game before that as the Wild took on the Dallas Stars. And he’s been bounced in and out of the press box a few times this season.
The 23-year-old has had a rough start to his tenure in Minnesota and it looks to be only getting worse. He recorded a shot on goal Wednesday, but he only skated for just a hair over 11 minutes.
The 4-9-0 Wild have a full complement of healthy forwards, so Fiala has become the odd man out for the moment. That’s for good reason, as he’s yet to hit his stride and has just one assist in eight games.
“We expect more from him,” coach Bruce Boudreau said. “He’s a guy that we’re counting on. He’s coming off an injury but in the whole scheme of things, we need him to be one of our most offensive players, power play guy and everything else. So far it hasn’t worked but I think the message has gotten through, and he’ll be back in the lineup really soon because we could use the offense. There’s no doubt about it.”
And the Wild are counting on Fiala for good reason, as he produced rather well as a Nashville Predator before he was traded to the State of Hockey for Mikael Granlund in February of 2019.
Fiala had seven points in 19 games for Minnesota last season after posting 32 with Nashville in 64 games. His career best season was a 48-point run in 2017-2018, where he pieced together a career-best 23 goals.
Are the Wild expecting too much from Fiala? It doesn’t seem that way.
But they are expecting something. A point in eight games is not going to cut it, especially when many see Fiala as the hire of former general manager Paul Fenton. That didn’t stop new general manager Bill Guerin from tabling a “fair offer” to the forward to get him into training camp this season, though.
That fair offer turned out to be a two-year deal worth $6 million, which is the sort of “wait and see” contract that now looks like smart money. The deal put Guerin and Co. in good position to move Fiala, which is probably what they’re trying to do given how things are breaking down.
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