Minnesota and winger Kevin Fiala will be heading to salary arbitration after all. While he wasn’t among the players to file for a hearing yesterday, the Wild announced (Twitter link) that they have elected to take Fiala to a hearing.
The 25-year-old is coming off a strong season that saw him notch 20 goals and 20 assists in 50 games, good for second on the team in scoring behind fellow RFA winger Kirill Kaprizov. It was a strong follow up to his first full season with Minnesota in 2019-20 where he had 23 goals and 31 helpers in 64 games which has certainly bolstered Fiala’s value heading into these contract talks. He was qualified at $3.5MM but stands to earn considerably more on his next contract.
There are a handful of different rules in place for club-elected versus player-elected arbitration. The first is that no matter what the ruling is, Minnesota can’t walk away. As Fiala was filed on, he gets to determine the term of the contract. That’s certainly notable as he’s two years away from UFA eligibility and as a result of this decision from the Wild, he could simply opt to go to a hearing and elect the two-year term that would take him to the open market in 2023. Not that it would happen here but Minnesota cannot offer less than Fiala’s salary from last season; teams that are filed on can go slightly lower.
Fiala will now be added to the list of players that will have an arbitration hearing scheduled from August 11th through the 26th.