Fiala Recalled, Admirals Sign Steffes to PTO


Kevin Fiala will be joining Viktor Arvidsson as the next emergency call up made by the Nashville Predators. It is Fiala’s first career NHL recall. (Photo Credit: Jim Diamond)

The banged up Nashville Predators are in need of more reinforcements from the Milwaukee Admirals. The latest call up under emergency conditions will be none other than the first round selection by the Predators in the 2014 NHL Draft, Kevin Fiala. That also comes with the news that the Admirals will be signing forward Gary Steffes to a PTO contract.

Press Release via Milwaukee Admirals:

Milwaukee, WI–Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced Tuesday that the club has recalled 2014 first-round selection (11th overall) Kevin Fiala from Milwaukee (AHL) under emergency conditions.

Fiala has amassed 17 points (9g-8a) in 26 American Hockey League games since making his North American professional debut with the Admirals on Jan. 21. The native of St. Gallen, Switzerland, started the 2014-15 season with HV-71 of the Swedish Hockey League, posting 14 points (5g-9a) in 20 games – tied for the fourth-most goals and assists, and sixth-most points among SHL junior players – before being assigned to Nashville’s AHL affiliate on Jan. 15. Fiala also represented Switzerland at the 2015 World Junior Championship, being named one of the nation’s three best players for the tournament while tying for fifth among all skaters in goals (4g-1a-5pts, 6gp).

In addition, the Admirals have signed forward Gary Steffes to a professional try-out contract (PTO). Steffes has played this season with the Allen Americans of the ECHL where is his second on the team with 73 points via a club-best 44 goals and 29 assist in 63 games. The Grand Blanc, MI native is also an impressive +31 while raking up 59 penalty minutes.

Steffes will join the Admirals for their game on Wednesday night when they host the San Antonio Rampage at 7 pm at the BMO Harris Bradley Center.

Fiala’s recent play has been spectacular to watch with the Admirals. I feel as if his comfort level to the North American game has improved game-by-game. At first, the speed in which the game and defense closed on Fiala seemed to catch him off guard and he’d either loose the puck from a stick check or pass lightly to nowhere in particular and turn the puck over that way. These last few weeks he has been producing some solid performances all-across the board. He’s looked better defensively. He gets involved in some of the more physical play. And, of course, has amazing stick skills.

Fiala will make his NHL debut tonight in Nashville when they go head-to-head against the red hot Montreal Canadiens. He’s getting his first look up in the NHL and joins Viktor Arvidsson as the second emergency recall made by the Predators in the past week. Fiala will be playing on a line with Mike Fisher and Craig Smith.

Meanwhile, this recently injury spell up top has put the Admirals in a slight bind. Félix Girard is still hurt. Mike Liambas is still nursing through a lower-body injury but has played through it. Eric Robinson was signed to an ATO and thrust into his first two career games as a pro. And now a new PTO signing is needed. That’s where Steffes comes in.

Steffes is an undrafted 27-year old native of Michigan who has spent this season playing for the Allen Americans in the ECHL. His stats there this season have been ridiculous: 73 points (44 goals, 29 assists) in 63 games. He has only ever had one spell in the AHL prior to this PTO contract from the Admirals and that came with the Lake Erie Monsters during the 2012-13 season where he scored 3 points (1 goal, 2 assists) in 16 games. He played the following season with the Bakersfield Condors in the ECHL before exploding this season.

Thoughts on the moves? Do the recent call ups of younger Admirals signal anything for some of the more tenured guys in Milwaukee? What is your take on the signing of Steffes and can his offensive output in the ECHL translate to the AHL?

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5 Responses to Fiala Recalled, Admirals Sign Steffes to PTO

  1. mgb says:

    Best wishes to Kevin Fiala, he is certainly deserving of this opportunity. With Nashville and Milwaukee both in the playoff picture it will be interesting to see what direction this takes the teams.
    As for the more tenured veterans of the Admirals it means they need to step up their game and prove they belong in the NHL.
    If Fiala’s game in Nashville is as good as it has been in Milwaukee we may have seen the last of this young man as a Milwaukee Admiral.

  2. frontrowjon says:

    Fiala called up means what I’ve felt for a while for Austin Watson: he’s playing elsewhere next year. Sadly it’s just another case of home grown talent tossed away. The list is longer than need be but i really see Watson as squandered talent. He scores, shoots, leads, and most importantly blocks shots. An NHL team that knows what he has will scoop him up and he’ll play at the next level next season. Meanwhile this season is limping to an end and this call up really will help it end fast. Tonight’s game is huge but the Chicago games are the season they can easily slide past and steal 8th from us if we continue to play the stellar hockey we’ve been putting on the ice. We don’t have enough fire power or defense to win and when the Ppl is as bad as this it means teams will play aggressively not caring about going down a man cause chances are they’ll score shorthanded anyways.

  3. firsttimer says:

    Well said FRJ.

  4. Fan in the Falls says:

    Agree with all on Fiala. I don’t really expect to see him back in Milwaukee. There’s no denying his talent and ability to see the game faster than most players. Arvidsson has been playing well with Nashville as well. I think the Preds will send him back down before Fiala when some guys come back from injury, but he could make a good push for the Preds roster next season.

    I do have to disagree with one point made by frontrowjon. I don’t see Watson as a talent tossed away. Yes, he does play well with the Ads doing all the right things without being flashy. I agree that he will be playing in a different organization next year and may even be given a shot playing on a bottom two line in the NHL. BUT, to say he is a talent tossed away I think is incorrect. He simply got passed up by veteran signing and some very talented guys (Forsberg, Arvdisson, Fiala). If he was good enough to be playing in the NHL I would think another team who could use his talents may have already contacted Nashville about a trade of some sort. Maybe they did and GMDP turned them down, but I don’t think he’s not playing with the Preds because they were ignoring him.

    Look at another past example of a guy who everyone claimed didn’t get enough of a shot with the Preds: Chris Mueller. Last season he was in the Dallas Stars organization, but played mostly with the Texas Stars. This season he signed a one-way contract with the New York Rangers, but was waived early on and has played almost all season with the Hartford Wolf Pack.

    Sometimes a player just doesn’t seem to have “it” to stick in the NHL.

  5. I think we’ll still see Fiala back this season. As for next? No chance. There was a brief time when Fiala was starting out with us that I felt he could end up in Milwaukee for the start of the 2015-16 season. Then he started looking more and more comfortable. Even watching his NHL debut last night he didn’t look that out of his depth and he’s still a teenager. Quite impressed by how quickly he’s adapted to the North American game.

    As for Watson, I’m still perplexed as to what the future holds for him because he’s the sort of guy that David Poile name drops a fair bit when talking about Milwaukee. Perhaps he still sees something in him but I think it is exactly that which has done the Predators and Watson a disservice. I don’t think Watson works in Nashville. And I think that the pipeline has passed him by. He is an NHL quality player in a third/fourth line and penalty killing capacity. Again, just not in Nashville and they should have known that for awhile now. I’d have moved him while his value was worth something last season for a project that could be brought into the system down the road or simply a draft pick. It’s gone to the point now where I just assume Watson leaves as a free agent and that’s probably the move that’ll be best for him finding a team that sees a use out of him.

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