In spite of the fact that the short lived tenure of former Minnesota Wild general manager Paul Fenton was largely criticized and is now viewed rather negatively, one bright spot that has come from Fenton's time in the GM chair has been the play of Wild forward Kevin Fiala.
Fiala was brought over in a heavily criticized trade with the Nashville Predators, a trade that sent veteran forward Mikael Granlund to the Predators in a one for one deal for Fiala, but over time the perception of that deal has shifted considerably. Since joining the Wild Fiala has been a point producing machine and has made Fenton's eye for the game appear quite good in retrospect. In his first season with the Wild he had 3 goals and 7 assists for 10 points in 19 games, but was a plus minus of -12 over that stretch. His second season with the Wild and his first full campaign with the team saw a jump in his numbers with 23 goals and 31 assists for 54 points over just 64 games and a much improved plus minus rating of -1. This last season was another impressive one that saw him post 20 goals and 20 assists for 40 points in 50 games and a plus minus rating of -2 on the season.
Fiala has made Fenton's trade look pretty solid in hindsight but now it sounds like it will also cost the Wild when it comes to their purse strings. According to a report from National Hockey League insider Elliotte Friedman, it would appear as though Fiala is now seeking to get paid as a restricted free agent with a big arbitration demand of $6.25 million per season. Not only is that a big number, but it is quite a ways off from the number that the Wild have put forward at just $4 million per season. That leaves the two sides a whopping $2.25 million apart as they head into arbitration, a sign that Fiala's camp and the Wild could soon be butting heads as they both seek to get the best possible deal.
Arbitration has been known to sour relationships between team and player at times, and hopefully the Wild will be able to avoid such a scenario here with Fiala in spite of the large gap between the two.