Nashville Predators: Predators Will Be Led By Fiala’s Goal Scoring

NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 28: Kevin Fiala /

As the Nashville Predators continue to pile up the wins, Kevin Fiala is making a strong case to lead this team in goals as he’s surging once again.

With Filip Forsberg and Viktor Arvidsson missing recent games due to injuries, the Nashville Predators are having to dig deeper for scoring. Forsberg and Arvidsson are widely considered the top scoring threats on the team. With them out, it’s time for someone else to take charge. That player is Kevin Fiala.

Fiala is having a roller coaster type of season. It’s crazy to think that he didn’t net his first goal of the year until mid-November, while also recently having an eight-game goal drought. He’s been streaky to say the least, but his talent makes him the type of player that can take an entire month over with multi-goal games. His latest outing is a two-goal game to help the Predators beat the Panthers.

The Nashville Predators are fighting for their first division title in franchise history. They’ll need Fiala to catch fire and avoid another lengthy scoring drought. If he does that, his chances look good to finish with 30-plus goals.

Making the case for Fiala

Fiala has that rare talent to create goals without much help from his teammates. His ability to pile up the shots on goal remind me very much of how Forsberg plays. While Fiala isn’t at Forsberg’s level just yet, he’s more than capable of filling in with Forsberg’s absence.

In December, an 8-3-2 month for the Predators, Fiala scored goals in eight of nine games. Another stretch like that is on the horizon. Some time and maturation has happened, but here’s what Thomas Drance of said in his scouting report of Fiala  back in the summer of 2014:

"Fiala is a gifted playmaker, with excellent puck-handling abilities and off-the-charts hockey IQ. While he’s undersized, he’s gritty and extremely difficult to bump off the puck, though his play without the puck will require improvement before he makes an impact at the NHL level."

It’s time for Fiala to really make his impact in the NHL. I’m intrigued to see how he finishes the remainder of the season. The Predators have 35 games remaining on the schedule. Assuming Fiala stays healthy, he’s going to be thrust into the most important offensive situations. He’s piling up the shots on goal recently with 17 over the Predators’ current five-game winning streak. More of those shots are going to start finding the back of the net.

One thing that’s going to help Fiala’s chances to lead the team in goals is now he’s the focal point for the opposition. With no Forsberg and Arvidsson out there, Fiala is arguably the most talented scorer on the ice. This means Fiala can’t just simply rely on his puck-handling ability. He’s going to have to get better at moving without the puck and scoring some dirty goals in the trenches.

Where he finishes

I’ve been high on Fiala since he made his Predators debut to open the 2016-17 season against the Blackhawks. Now he’s gradually blossoming into the lethal scorer so many scouts saw. He’s got some improvements to make, but there’s no reason to think he won’t adjust as this season progresses. He’s the type of player that keeps getting better with experience as the game will slow down more for him to use his raw talent.

Forsberg is making steady progress to hopefully return in the next two weeks or so. He has started participating in morning skates, per Adam Vingan of the Tennessean:

Arvidsson is back and looks like he’s almost to 100 percent. He is off of IR now, per the team website. The longer these two top scorers are out, the more time on ice Fiala should see. With the way he’s an offense-first type of player, that only means more opportunities to score.

Look for Fiala to enter a big scoring surge in the next couple of weeks. He’ll flirt with the 20-goal mark very soon. Once the Predators get back to full strength, Fiala will be settled in as the team’s top scoring threat. He’s about to find his groove and eventually surpass 30 goals for the season.

Next: The Predators Are A Team Full of All-Stars

Now the question is can Forsberg, who sits at 15 goals, or Arvidsson recover and finish the season strong in their own right? Possibly, but I like the chances of a full healthy Fiala much better. Time to sit back and watch Fiala shine as he scores some highlight reel goals and keeps the Predators marching towards a division title.