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Kevin Fiala

(Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports)

Did The LA Kings Overpay For Kevin Fiala?

Kevin Fiala
Did the LA Kings overpay for Kevin Fiala? The Kings are certainly making a gamble but the addition of Fiala is certainly a calculated one. (Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports)

Did The LA Kings Overpay For Kevin Fiala?

The LA Kings made the first major splash of the 2022 NHL offseason. Kevin Fiala was acquired for a first round pick and prospect via the Wild. With Minnesota facing a cap crunch, re-signing Fiala didn’t seem feasible after the season he just had.

The Kings didn’t waste any time working out a massive contract extension either. Fiala and the Kings agreed to a seven year deal worth $55.125 million. Fiala’s new contract will carry an AAV of $7.9 million. With the Kings having tons of cap space entering the offseason, they became uber aggressive for Fiala in order to pair him on the top line with Anže Kopitar and Adrian Kempe.

Make no mistake about it, Kevin Fiala is a good player. Is he worth the $7.9 million AAV the Kings are paying him? That’s another question. Fiala, 25, is coming off a career high 85 point season. Will life after Kirill Kaprizoz prove to be too challenging?

The Kaprizoz factor is the biggest question. How much did Kaprizoz impact Fiala’s scoring output? We can sit here and analyze the Wild’s powerplay. 17 points from Fiala’s 85 total came via the powerplay. 12 were assists. I think it’s also fair to say every team has good players on the powerplay so just isolating Kaprizoz alone seems unfair.

In reality, Fiala shined without Kaprizoz’s help. Fiala played mostly second line duties with Frederick Gaudreau and hot shot rookie Matthew Boldy. In fact, Fiala played 88 total minutes with Kaprizoz during even strength. Fiala carried that second line without another additional star on it to a CF% of 53.1. A damn good mark.

Fiala is a big time threat offensively. If you’re the Kings, doesn’t it stand to reason his production should actually improve playing next to Kopitar and Kempe? Fiala is also young enough where he should continue to improve.

At the same time, he’s now the top line left winger. This is the Fiala show. If you’re going to command a $7.9 AAV, you better be putting up Mikko Rantanen numbers. I’m not sure Fiala has that in him. Can he sustain that 89% finishing rate with more of an offensive burden? His 12.6 shooting percentage has sat at around that number for three consecutive years. It remains to be seen if that number will increase now that he’s playing in the Kings system.

It seems as though players like playing for Todd McLellan. If we needed an example, that annoying rat Phillip Danault just put together his best year ever. Danault has always been a menace defensively and in the faceoff circle. A year ago, Danault showed more offensive prowess and the Kings system might have had something to do with that.

The Kings are a team stuck in a weird spot. They have these glue guy veterans like Kopitar, Jonathan Quick, and Drew Doughty. They also have this young core that isn’t making anything but hasn’t shown much yet at the NHL level. The Fiala addition is supposed to bring that star presence to a playoff caliber group and take them over the hump.

Will it work? Maybe? Am I skeptical? Absolutely. Does Kevin Fiala make the LA Kings a better hockey team? Absolutely.

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