If there is any silver lining for Nashville Predators fans following Tuesday night’s blowout loss to the Las Vegas Golden Knights, it’s that the organization announced the day after that Thomas Novak has been signed to a one year, $800,000 contract.
This contract will keep Novak in a Smashville sweater through the 2023-2024 season. This comes shortly after the Predators re-signed another young forward, Cole Smith, just two days before.
Re-signing Novak and Smith takes care of two pending free agents that were coming up in the 2023 offseason. The Predators still have Cody Glass, Tanner Jeannot, Dante Fabbro and Alexandre Carrier as pending RFAs, while Mark Jankowski and Kevin Lankinen will be UFAs in the offseason.
Novak, a third-round draft pick for the Nashville Predators in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, started the 2022-23 season in the AHL with the Milwaukee Admirals. In 25 games, Novak played a significant role putting in 26 points.
Averaging just over a point-per-game, Novak was tearing it up in Milwaukee. Even though he only played in 25 games for the Ads, Novak is still the seventh leading scorer for the team. This is what led to eventually calling him back up to boost the Nashville Predators offense on December 19th. Nearly a year after his last game in the NHL.
Novak’s Journey with the Nashville Predators
In his first game being called up, Novak recorded an assist in a win for the Predators over the Edmonton Oilers. That would be the start of his offensive mindset making a difference. Novak recorded points in eight of his first ten games. The Predators went 7-1-2 over that stretch.
Since that start, Novak has slowed down a slightly and currently has four goals and seven assists in his 20 games with the Predators. The Minnesota native is a very disciplined forward and has only taken two minor penalties since being called up. Though his numbers have not been extremely high, they are both career highs for him at the NHL level.
Novak has made a difference to this struggling Nashville Predators team. Averaging just 11:20 time on ice each night, if he continues to play at the level he is, that number is sure to start to climb.
After being drafted by the Predators in 2015, Novak played four years at the University of Minnesota. In his time in the NCAA, Novak skated in 129 games. It wasn’t until he reached the AHL level though that his offensive capabilities started to come to the surface. In the 129 games he tallied 18 goals and 70 assists.
The 2018-2019 season was the first time that Novak saw time in the AHL where he played in only three games for the Admirals. In his short span that season he had one assist.
The 2019-2020 season, Novak really started to find his rhythm and was able to skate in 60 games for the Admirals. His discipline went away a little bit during that season though and he had 18 penalty minutes. To this day, that is still the most penalty minutes he has taken in a single season.
Since then, Novak has dressed for Milwaukee, Florida Everblades (ECHL), and the Chicago Wolves. Playing in 72 games for those three teams over the course of two COVID-19 affected season’s, Novak had 16 goals and 53 assists.
Novak’s first time being called up for Nashville was during the 2021-22 season when he played in 27 games at the start of the season. He did not have the success that he was hoping for only having 1 goal and 6 assists that season.
Now that Novak has been called back up and with his level of play being how it has been, Predators fans should be excited at the news that he has been re-signed to the organization. His discipline on the ice is second to none as he only has two minor penalties this season. Add that with his offensive mindset and high hockey IQ and he is set to make a difference in this lineup.