Team: HV71 (SHL)
DOB: July 22, 1996
Projected: Mid-First Round
Over the past few years, Switzerland has been moving up the ranks in the hockey world through both their team's success in the World Championships in 2013 and their players' success in the NHL. Potential first round pick Kevin Fiala could end up being yet another jewel on the Swiss hockey crown.
Offensively, Fiala is a fairly balanced player. He has a good offensive IQ, is a creative passer, has a hard shot, and is also a very speedy and shifty skater. On top of that, he is physical and hard working. In order to make it to the next level, he needs to work on his game defensively but he certainly has time to do so.
Kevin Fiala seems to step up his game whenever hit with challenges. In the Ivan Hlinka tournament, he led team Switzerland in points with five in five, when he was called up to HV71 he started off with eight points in three games, and during the SHL playoffs he had six points in eight games. Those kinds of results facing stiffer competition really bodes well for a player who is facing the uphill battle of a player below six feet tall trying to make it into the NHL.
As far as draft placement goes, Kevin Fiala could go anywhere from just outside the top ten to the late first round. A strong showing at the U18 championships could greatly improve his draft stock and if the past is a good indicator for the future, I would not be at all surprised to see him jump up in the draft rankings after that.
"A high risk/high reward prospect, projections on Fiala range from him becoming a Patrick Kane-type scorer to a player who puts up big numbers in Europe his entire career; never skating in the NHL."
- Hockey's Future
http://www.hv71.se/trupp/HV71/5153 (video highlights at bottom of the page)
Where He Would Fit
As the writers in Hockey's Future said, Kevin Fiala could range from a first line scorer, to a player that doesn't even make it over to North America. Ideally, he turns out to be the next Patrick Kane but ideally rarely happens. One of the positives about Fiala is he does possess a bit of physicality in his game so he could end up being a very successful third-line scorer if all else fails.
Despite it being very rare, you obviously always hope for the ideal. Three things that can really bode well for a player doing well down the road are vision, work ethic, and stepping it up when needed and Fiala possesses all three of these. This, of course, does not mean he is a shoe-in for a first line player but it definitely helps his chances.