The search in the offseason is centered around a top-four defenseman and a top-line forward. One of the names that keep cropping up around the New York Islanders for that second need is Minnesota Wild winger Kevin Fiala.
When you look at his production you can easily see why he's a target. Through 82 games, Fiala put up 33 goals and 85 points. That's the first time he hits over a point-per-game in his still-young career.
So why would the Wild want to let him go? Well they might not have much of a say.
New York Islanders: Is bringing in Kevin Fiala possible?
Fiala is at the end of a one-year $5.1 million deal that was agreed to a day before the Wild took Fiala to arbitration. After a career year in 21-22, you have to expect he's going to ask for a big raise.
The problem for the Wild is that they're facing a bit of a cap crunch. Going into the 22-23 season, the Wild have $3.5 million in cap space. As you can imagine that's not enough to re-sign Fiala to a contract that the market says he should get.
Looking at The Athletic's player cards (subscription required), Fiala's play this season puts his market value at $10.2 million. Anything over $7 million will cause the Wild a significant problem.
But I have to think Wild GM Bill Guerin isn't just about to raise his hands and say: "Oh well, guess we can't keep him". The Wild don't have the space to keep him right now, but that doesn't mean they can't make space. Moving Matt Dumba clears out $6 million in space and enough to offer Fiala an $8 million deal.
Obviously, the Wild can't snap their fingers and trade Matt Dumba, nor do they really want to. Dumba is still a good player and holds a 10-team no-trade list. They like Dumba but keeping him over Fiala seems like a bad decision for the Wild. So if they can find the right deal that respects his no-trade list they'll move him.
Which would remove the Islanders chances of getting him. From there, the Isles only chance to nab him would be with a rarely seen offer sheet. And well, that just doesn't seem like something that would happen with Lou Lamoriello at the helm.
Fiala is a great target to pursue for the Islanders. But landing him is going to be tough.