MINNEAPOLIS - The Minnesota Wild was eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs after the first round for the sixth time in the last seven years, and now the team has some difficult decisions to make heading into the 2022-23 season.
Among them is the contract situation for winger Kevin Fiala. He set career-highs in the regular season with 33 goals, 52 assists and 85 points. He was one of three 30-goal scorers for the Wild, joining Kirill Kaprizov and Ryan Hartman. He was one of six 20-goal scorers on a team that set a franchise record with 113 regular season points.
Fiala’s 52 assists were third on the team, behind Kaprizov and Mats Zuccarello. But in six playoff games against the St. Louis Blues, Fiala didn’t score a goal and finished with three assists.
"I don’t know. I tried my best, tried to get it going and playoffs are playoffs. You can’t score every game," Fiala said. "It wasn’t horrible, but obviously not very good. Such a shame to go out like that."
There’s a very real chance that the Wild will open next season without Fiala on the roster. The team is strapped against the salary cap, and the Wild brought back Fiala this season for $5.1 million to avoid arbitration.
Fiala posted to social media on Sunday, "Thank you Minnesota." It was a picture of him celebrating a goal with Kaprizov and Zuccarello.- Fiala was asked about his future last week.
"There’s no other answer than we’ll see, I don’t know," Fiala said.
Wild GM Bill Guerin said last week in the team’s season-ending media session he’s not sure if Fiala will be back next year.
"There’s uncertainty. We’d love to have Kevin back, I don’t know if it’s going to be possible," Guerin said. "We have to dig into it a little bit and see what we could possibly do. But there is uncertainty. I’m uncertain."
Fiala has played in 215 games over four seasons with the Wild, traded to Minnesota in 2018 from the Nashville Predators.