When rumors about the Nashville Predators moving Kevin Fiala really started to build, the worry was that they’d sell-low on a promising, but struggling, young player. Luckily, the Predators knew at least one person who’d appreciate Fiala’s skills: Minnesota Wild GM Paul Fenton.
With keeping up with the Winnipeg Jets in mind, the Predators made a bold move, sending Fiala to Minnesota for a very nice forward in Mikael Granlund. The deal appears to be one-for-one, according to TSN’s Pierre LeBrun, and other reporters (including The Athletic’s Mike Russo.)
Predators receive: Mikael Granlund.
Wild receive: Kevin Fiala.
Predators keep pace
The Winnipeg Jets added a needed center in Kevin Hayes, so the Predators were smart to go out and get one of their own, and Mikael Granlund is a very nice find.
One nice bonus is that, unlike pending UFA Hayes, Granlund’s also not a rental — or maybe he’s one of those weekly rentals that old video stores offered. (R.I.P. Blockbuster, although those late fees were not cool.)
Granlund, 26, carries a $5.75 million cap hit through 2019-20, so Nashville gets him for two potential playoff runs.
Granlund generated 69 points in 2016-17, 67 last season, and has 49 points in 63 games. He’s a proven commodity with nice possession stats on what was a pretty sturdy possession team in Minnesota. The Predators’ second line had been struggling mightily this season, and while Kyle Turris‘ struggles have probably been exaggerated by injuries, the bottom line is that Nashville gets better down the middle.
It was clear that Fiala was losing favor with Peter Laviolette/the Predators in general. Maybe Fiala will be a great piece in the future, but the Predators get more of a sure thing in Granlund, and they didn’t just throw away the speedy winger for one run. GM David Poile sure knows how to make trades, huh?
Wild get younger
At 26, Granlund isn’t ancient, but Fiala’s four years younger at 22. There are certain underlying numbers that indicate that we haven’t seen Fiala’s ceiling yet, and in the long run, the difference between the two might not end up being as big as it seems today.