The Minnesota Wild have traded forward Mikael Granlund to the Nashville Predators in exchange for left winger Kevin Fiala. The deal occurred with less than 20 minutes remaining until the 3:00 pm Trade Deadline and was a one-for-one trade.
— TSN (@TSN_Sports) February 25, 2019
This trade appeared to come out of nowhere as Granlund wasn’t on many trade boards, including TSN’s Trade Bait List. The ninth-overall pick in the 2010 Entry Draft, Granlund made his NHL debut during the 2012-13 season. He has since scored at least 40 points in five of six seasons, including at least 60 in each of the past two seasons by way of 20-plus goals and 40-plus assists in each.
He has a lengthy track record of success with 93 goals and 317 points in 461 regular-season games, plus eight goals and 21 points in 39 playoff games. In 63 games this season, the soon-to-be 27-year-old has 15 goals and 49 points. Granlund has one year left on his contract with a $5.75 million cap hit and will be an unrestricted free agent at the deal’s conclusion.
Related: 2019 Trade Deadline Tracker
Going back to the Wild was Fiala, a 22-year-old whom the Predators drafted 11th overall in 2014. He is in the final year of his entry-level contract and will be a restricted free agent at season’s end. In 204 career regular-season games, he has 45 goals and 97 points. This season, he has 10 goals and 32 points in 64 games.
On the surface, this is a trade of potential versus proven. Granlund is the proven player with seven seasons of NHL production to his name while Fiala has more potential given his age and upside. Although he has failed to improve on the 23 goals and 48 points he posted in 2017-18, Wild general manager Paul Fenton is familiar with Fiala from his time as Nashville’s assistant GM between 2006 and 2018 and knew what he was acquiring.
Granlund will be an asset for the Predators as a strong two-way forward who plays in all situations, including on the penalty kill, and is likely to slot into Fiala’s spot on the second line alongside Kyle Turris and either Craig Smith or Calle Jarnkrok. Meanwhile, Fiala will go to the Wild and likely be given more opportunity to produce.