This one is a huge haul for the Minnesota Wild. They get a likely top-five pick while also getting an NHL-ready bottom-six player in Fabian Zetterlund. The Wild need cheap talent, and Zetterlund and this first-round pick are both going to be NHL ready in the window the Wild need them to be. The first-round pick is especially important because it gives the Wild a massive talent at a time when they have no money to spend. Paying $14 million for two players who aren’t even on the team when Kirill Kaprizov is in his prime is not an ideal situation.
The Devils can really get the Wild out of a precarious situation. Fiala has a lot of value in the league, but none of the teams ahead of the Devils would be willing to give up a pick this high for a player like Fiala. He’s a finishing piece, but it’s hard to give him the distinction that he can carry a team on his own.
It’s always hard to pay a first-round pick for a player with risk, but when the pick is in the top five in an NHL Draft like this one, it’s especially hard to make that move. Still, this really helps the Devils become competitive next season. Obviously, it doesn’t help their goalie situation, which is their biggest weakness. It doesn’t automatically put them into contention, but it does put them in a place where they can succeed in the long run. It’s the next step towards contention.
The Devils need to decide where they really think they are. Can they afford to trade their top-five pick for a player of Fiala’s caliber? Who else could they get with this pick? It’s a hard decision, but it might be the right one in the long run.