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Nashville Predators’ 2016-17 Player Report Cards: Kevin Fiala

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AKA Wolverine.

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-St. Louis Blues at Nashville Predators Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Season Overview

Kevin Fiala’s rookie season was not as glamorous as some of his peers, namely Calder Memorial Trophy winner Auston Matthews. After scoring twice on 18 shots through his first 10 games, the Preds sent Fiala down to Milwaukee in exchange for Pontus Aberg. He spent less than a month there, but was back in an Admirals uniform on January 17th, just days after being listed as a healthy scratch. Once he was recalled to the big leagues in February though, we saw a huge improvement in his maturity on the ice.

Kevin Fiala’s 2016-17 Season

Season GP G A PTS Plus/Minus PIM ATOI
Season GP G A PTS Plus/Minus PIM ATOI
16-17 54 11 5 16 1 18 13:31
Season Goals EV Goals PP GW Assists EV Assists PP Shots Shooting %
16-17 11 0 1 5 0 114 9.6

Those numbers are nothing jaw-dropping, but it should be noted that the majority of his ice time was spent with either Mike Ribeiro or Craig Smith, and 27.8% of his ice time was actually spent with them both. As a rookie who still had not found his true spot on the team, Fiala was being put in a number of lines with different players, making line chemistry hard. Eventually he was placed on the second line with Mike Fisher and either Smith or James Neal (RIP).

NHL: Nashville Predators at Washington Capitals Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
(graphic from hockeyviz.com)

One of the more interesting things that I noticed was that the amount of shots for per game when Fiala was on the team was almost always extremely high. It is also worthwhile to point out that while he had less points during the second half of the season, his production was more evenly spread out, showing that his play had matured and he began to work well with his linemates.

We also saw the team’s cute hugs/60 skyrocket thanks to the kid.

In all seriousness though, we know that this almost-21-year-old out of St. Gallen, Switzerland should have the ability to score 30 goals in a season more than once in his career. Whether or not he actually does will depend partially on when he gets a permanent line, and who those linemates are.

Best Moment of the Season

Scoring your second career playoff goal, and first playoff GWG in an OT victory against your biggest rival is the best moment of most people’s careers. Kev will most likely just remember this as the best moment of his 2016-2017 season. Regardless, it was a historic moment for him (and the team).

Worst Moment of the Season

Fiala did not have an amazing season, but unfortunately there is a single moment that happened this past season that is undoubtedly his worst.

And here you go. 661 grueling seconds of the worst moment of Kevin Fiala’s (and some Preds fans’) season. (WARNING: The video does show the injury and then 5 minutes of Kevin lying on the ice in extreme pain. If you are squeamish about gruesome injuries, DO NOT WATCH)

Trending Up or Down?

Trending up. Kevin Fiala put together a rookie season that showed us flashes of what GMDP and many fans expected and hoped for when he was drafted 11th overall in 2014. He also put together a playoffs campaign that helped put the team in their first ever Stanley Cup Final. The injury was a setback, but his Wolverine healing skills mean that he could very well be back with the team for training camp, where he will prepare for his first full season with the team. Will he score 30 goals? Not next to Mike Fisher, Nick Bonino, or any other other center that Coach Laviolette will likely put him on a line with, but I expect him to cover at least some of the points, effort, and consistency in his first full season (knock on wood) that we saw out of James Neal (RIP) last season.

FINAL GRADE: A-

For those of you who think it should be higher, please look at his statline. It is not objectively horrible, but also not something he deserves an A or A+ for. Now, I saw something in him that gives me hope for the future; a desire to push his team to new limits—one sign of a good leader (I think we will see an A on #56’s jersey before he retires). Also, he put the team in position to sweep They-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. If you still think he deserves a B+ or B, give the 20-year old a pass for having his femur snapped during one of the most important parts of his young career.

Poll

What do you think Kevin Fiala deserves?

This poll is closed

  • 38%
    A
    (137 votes)
  • 40%
    B
    (143 votes)
  • 1%
    C
    (6 votes)
  • 19%
    A metric ton of swiss chocolate
    (68 votes)
354 votes total Vote Now