Today, forward Kevin Fiala, the Nashville Predators 2014 first-round pick, signed an entry-level deal with the club.
On Wednesday, the Swiss winger stressed his desire to make the NHL this coming season, and he moved one step closer to that goal by signing a contract with Nashville this afternoon.
“My goal is [the] NHL and I want to be there right now. I’m going to work hard and take it step by step. If I don’t make it this year, I’ll take it step by step and make it next year,” Fiala said last week. “If I work hard in the summer and until this season, then I think I have a chance this year.”
Fiala had the option of going back to HV 71 in the Swedish Hockey League, but after inking a contract with Nashville today, the forward is now likely to transition to North America this fall. If Fiala can continue to develop while playing in the American Hockey League with the Milwaukee Admirals next season, he’ll be another step closer to accomplishing his dream of playing with the Predators in the NHL.
Below is the Predators press release:
Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced today that the club has signed 2014 first-round selection (11th overall) Kevin Fiala to a three-year entry-level contract.
Fiala, 17 (7/22/96), was a finalist for the 2014 Swedish Hockey League Rookie of the Year Award after tying for the lead in points among all under-18 SHL players with 11 (3g-8a) in 17 games for HV71. The 5-10, 180-pound winger started the 2013-14 season with the HV71 junior squad, ranking among the league leaders in goals (10), assists (15) and points (25) in 27 games before his January promotion. The dynamic offensive forward with game-breaking potential spent his first season in Sweden in 2012-13 with the Malmo organization, posting 10 points (6g-4a) in nine games at the under-18 level and 28 points (9g-19a) in 33 games at the junior level.
A native of St. Gallen, Switzerland, Fiala represented his homeland at the World Junior Championship, Under-18 World Championship and World Championship in 2014, becoming just the third player ever to participate in all three tournaments in the same year (Andrei Kostitsyn and Vadim Karagan, Belarus in 2003). Fiala led the Swiss in points at both the under-18 tournament (4g-5a-9pts, 5gp), was named one of the nation’s three best players in the process, and World Juniors (1g-4a-5pts, 5gp) as the team’s youngest member. At 17, he was the youngest member of Switzerland’s entry at the World Championship by three years, posting three assists and a team-best +3 rating playing alongside Predators defenseman Roman Josi and forward Simon Moser.
He speaks five languages – Czech, English, French, German and Swedish – and is on Twitter @KevinFiala22.