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Kings Fiala Making Good on Price Tag With All-Star Appearance

The Kings were relying on Fiala to come in and carry the burden of improving the offense.



Hey now, you're an All-Star.

Last season the Los Angeles Kings were one of the worst offensive teams in the league. They finished sixth worst in the league for goals scored and scored 32.62 goals below expected. They desperately needed help. 

General manager Rob Blake found that help, trading for Minnesota Wild breakout star Kevin Fiala. It was a big price, giving up a 2022 first-round pick and Brock Faber. The Kings then signed Fiala to a seven-year, $55.125 million contract after trading for him. 

The Kings were relying on Fiala to come in and carry the burden of improving the offense. 

And his All-Star game selection is a reflection of his success in doing just that. 

Fiala currently leads the team with 53 points in 53 games, including 18 goals and 35 assists. He also leads the team in power-play points with 16.

He's on pace to be the first point-per-game player for the Kings since Anze Kopitar in 2017-18. And the first Kings not named Kopitar to score at a point-per-game pace since Ziggy Palffy in the 2002-03 season. 

It's more than just the raw point totals for Fiala though. He's the first consistent game-breaker the Kings have had since Palffy. Players like Adrian Kempe have moments and stretches where they can do it. But Fiala is that player on a nightly basis. Every time he touches the puck fans are on the edge of their seat, waiting for something to happen.

He's brought an entirely new element to this team. One they've been missing for a long time. 

Fiala doesn't come without his faults. He's undisciplined and takes a few too many bad penalties. And is a defensive black hole most nights. But, his offensive qualities allow you to overlook those deficiencies. 

Despite them, he's still posting 7.6 goals above replacement and 1.3 wins above replacement according to evolving hockey. 

And, according to The Athletics' GSVA model, he's outperforming his average-annual-value by almost $1 million with his current play.

One small surprise has been Fiala's usage. 

Like Viktor Arvidsson last season, he was meant to be the missing winger for Kopitar on the top line. And, like Arvidsson, that hasn't been the case. 

He's found the most success playing on the third line, allowing him to be the main player on his line. Able to drive play and see the majority of the puck. This isn't a bad thing though, it gives the team depth and makes them a nightmare to match up against. 

Fiala's performance after the All-Star break will really prove how much value he brings though. The Kings will be embroiled in a playoff battle and will need their stars to shine. 

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