It's a pretty big news day for the Predators, what with Pekka Rinne's injury news and Marek Mazanec's call up. There was also a small move where Mikko Vainonen was assigned to SaiPa of the Finnish Elite League, (SM-Liiga).
Well, turns out they weren't done with the news cycle. Kevin Fiala has been assigned to the Milwaukee Admirals, from HV-71 of the Swedish Hockey League.
This is kind of an unexpected move, but it signifies that the Predators organization is pleased with the development Fiala has been showing this year in Sweden, and think he's ready to take the next step in North America. At the rookie tournament, Fiala was the second best player (behind Filip Forsberg) and impressed throughout all of training camp.
Nashville, Tenn. (January 15, 2015) – Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced Thursday that the club has assigned forward Kevin Fiala to the American Hockey League’s Milwaukee Admirals. The St. Gallen, Switzerland native played the first half of the 2014-15 season with HV71 of the Swedish Hockey League.
"We would like to commend and thank former Nashville Predator and HV71 Head Coach Andreas Johansson for his mentorship of Kevin both on and off the ice over the past season and a half and wish them the best in their playoff push," Poile said. "However, we feel that Kevin’s development into an NHL-ready player is best served by playing the duration of the 2014-15 season under the guidance of Milwaukee Head Coach Dean Evason and Assistant Coach Stan Drulia in the Predators system. By getting a head start on the acclimation process to the North American style of play and smaller rinks, we expect Kevin – like Filip Forsberg two seasons ago – will continue his growth as a dynamic offensive prospect."
Fiala, 18 (7/22/96), posted 14 points (5g-9a) in 20 games for HV-71 this season, tied for the fourth-most goals and assists, and sixth-most points among SHL junior players. The 5-10, 180-pound winger 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 2013-14, Fiala 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 13th overall selection in the 2014 Draft 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).