Using the depth of their prospect pool to fill immediate needs as they advance in their rebuilding process, the Kings on Wednesday acquired left wing Kevin Fiala from the Minnesota Wild for the rights to defenseman Brock Faber and their first-round pick in this year’s NHL draft.
The Kings, who made the playoffs this season after missing out for three straight seasons and lost to the Edmonton Oilers in seven games, had been scheduled to pick 19th. The NHL draft will take place next Thursday and Friday in Montreal.
Fiala, 25, figures to play to the left of Anze Kopitar and Adrian Kempe on the Kings’ top line, a role that has been difficult to fill. Alex Iafallo spent much of last season in that spot, but his long scoring droughts led to him being dropped in the lineup.
Fiala is listed at 5 feet 10 and 205 pounds and is known as a swift skater with excellent acceleration and game-breaking abilities. He was headed toward being a restricted free agent but reportedly signed a seven-year, $55.125-million contract with the Kings that carries an annual salary cap hit of $7.875 million. He was a teammate of Kings winger Viktor Arvidsson in Nashville for several seasons.
A native of Switzerland, Fiala was chosen 11th in the 2014 draft by Nashville. He scored 45 goals for the Predators in 204 games before they traded him to the Wild. In 215 games with the Wild he scored 79 goals and 186 points, including career bests in goals (33), game-winning goals (seven) and points (85) this season. He has scored 124 goals and 283 points in 419 games over eight NHL seasons.
The Kings chose Faber 45th overall in the second round of the 2020 draft. On Wednesday he was appointed a co-captain of the University of Minnesota hockey team for the upcoming season. He’s considered a potential top-four NHL defenseman but the Kings have a good amount of depth there, especially among right-handed shooters.
The Kings did not make general manager Rob Blake available for comment on Wednesday but said he will participate in a Zoom call on Thursday.