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?