Fiala was the Preds first round selection (11th overall) in the 2014 NHL Draft. He will turn 18-years old in exactly a week’s time.
Nashville, Tennessee – 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.
The other entry level signing also happens to be a member of the Preds 2014 Draft Class. Arvidsson was selected in the fourth round (112th overall) and is a 21-year old Swedish winger. He and Fiala both made a splash at the recent Predators rookie development camp with some crafty shootout moves:
Nashville, Tenn. – Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced today that the Predators have signed 2014 fourth-round selection Viktor Arvidsson to a three-year entry-level contract.
Arvidsson, 21 (4/8/93), ranked ninth in the Swedish Hockey League in points (16g-24a-40pts) during the 2013-14 season, then helped Skelleftea (along with newly signed Predator Johan Alm) win its second consecutive SHL title by tying for second in assists (12) and ranking third in points (16) during the postseason. During the title-winning season of 2012-13, the 5-9, 172-pound winger was named Swedish junior player of the year and a finalist for the SHL rookie of the year award, in addition to tying for fourth in playoff goals (6).
A native of Skelleftea, Arvidsson tied for eighth in goals (4) at the 2013 World Junior Championship, helping Sweden to a silver medal, and also earned silver at the 2011 Under-18 World Championship. He was a teammate of Predators prospect Filip Forsberg on both silver-medal squads, in addition to playing with prospects Pontus Aberg and Max Gortz at the 2009 Under-17 World Hockey Challenge.
As Jason Karnosky alluded to in his recent story, I feel these signings all seem to benefit Milwaukee for the 2014/15 season pretty significantly. It will be a pretty young team but a very talented one.
It’s starting to look like Milwaukee’s starting center roles could shake out as: Colton Sissons (1), Brendan Leipsic (2), Mark Van Guilder (3), and Austin Watson (4). I’m thinking Calle Jarnkrok would have the upper-hand on Sissons for an NHL spot. And it’s important to not forget this in terms of Milwaukee. Watson was pushed out to the wing because his speed was lacking at the center position and really hit stride as a points producer once he joined Van Guilder’s wing. Watson should start the season as a winger – not a center. I also suspect Miikka Salomaki may be pushed back to the center position – where he was tasked to play a fair bit towards the end of last season. Lots of depth. Lots of youth. Lots of talent. And lots of options for Dean Evason and company to work with.
What do you make of the entry level signings of Fiala and Arvidsson? Does Fiala have a chance at making the Predators roster? How do today’s signings impact the Milwaukee Admirals 2014-15 season? Will the Admirals be better or worse than last season?