It has been said that patience is a virtue. It appears Nashville Predators prospect Kevin Fiala is finally learning that lesson.
At the Predators rookie development camp on Friday the 11th overall pick in the 2014 NHL draft appeared to show something he was lacking last season: patience and maturity.
"I think I did a big step last year on the ice and off the ice," Fiala said. "My biggest step was off the ice and to be a better person and I hope it will work out this year."
Fiala had an up-and-down season after being benched in November for being late to practice and also served a two-game suspension for an obscene gesture he made to an opposing bench.
He did finish the season strong, however, recording 18 goals and 32 assists to lead the Milwaukee Admirals in scoring. Fiala even got called up to the Predators in January, scoring his first career NHL goal against Winnipeg in his season debut on January 14.
Since then, he has seemingly let go of his frustration and learned to trust the process.
"I’m now 19, it’s a process," Fiala said. "When you get drafted it goes so fast. It’s just a process, then it starts actually with hard work. I just have to make the steps and hopefully it’ll work out this year. I have more experience. Its my third time here and I know a lot of the guys here and a lot of the coaches and I feel at home here."
For the second straight year Fiala will spend the summer in Nashville training to make the Predators roster out of training camp. He did not make the Preds' roster out of training camp last year and began his season with the Admirals in Milwaukee.
"Like I said before, I feel at home," Fiala said. "Everybody knows me and I know everybody. It’s just a great, great feeling."
"I’ll do everything my best this summer and we’ll see what happens. I know the system and its just hockey now. I don’t have to focus on anything else just playing and that is awesome."