Our young Swiss winger changed to a professional number this season. That’s unfortunate news for those of us who had a #56 rookie shirsey… but anyway, the kid came back from a season-ending femur break in last year’s playoffs. He didn’t look slow or uncomfortable as he started the season.
Fiala bounced around in the early part of the season before Kyle Turris was acquired. Once Turris became the 2C, Fiala and Craig Smith found their permanent spot for the season.
Fiala had 23 goals this season and 25 assists. He took a big step forward from his previous campaigns with Nashville. I was really impressed with his efforts once he found good linemates. Like much of the team, Fiala performed well against Colorado in the playoffs, but was largely nonexistent against Winnipeg with the exception of another awesome OT goal (see below).
Fiala took 26 penalty minutes, including a pretty awful penalty against Winnipeg in the second round that led to a loss on the road. His consistency this season was much improved, but when Fiala had a bad night, it stood out.
What Nashville fans are hoping for next season is the continued dominants of the FiTS line. They formed a solid second line that saw the re-emergence of Craig Smith and the growth of Kevin Fiala. Kyle Turris can put the puck right on the tape of either Smith or Fiala, and working with these older players has allowed Fiala to develop patience.
Nashville fans will also want to see Fiala take less “stupid” penalties (trips, slashes) and keep moving his feet to be in good position. It’s not that Fiala is lazy... it’s just that sometimes he relies on his stick skills to compensate for bad positioning on ice.
This season also brought us this video of Kevin Fiala, Roman Josi, and Yannick Weber making gingerbread houses at Christmas. Fiala would rather eat the house than make one. Obviously they all have some talent with gingerbread house decorating, but perhaps they should stick to skating and being beautiful Swiss men.
After spending most of Game 2 against Winnipeg biting our nails and having small heart attacks, this OT goal caused most of us to spill our beer/popcorn. The guy in front of me celebrated so hard he lost his glasses.
I could list some bad penalties that led to goals by the opposing team, but I think this “own goal” by Fiala really broke his heart. I’m sure no players were actually angry at Fiala after this accident (look at his sad face!!), but the breakaway was mostly his fault after he lost the puck at the Colorado blue line.
Final Grade: B
Fiala proved a lot after coming back from a huge injury last season. He will need to improve his discipline as he grows as a professional, but he skated hard, celebrated hard, and found consistency this with Smith and Turris. We would have loved to see a more consistent performance out of Fiala and his line in the playoffs. The FiTS line has the ability to counter most scoring lines of opponent teams...but they didn’t show up.
Look for Fiala to increase his production next season, after which he is due for a new contract. I would love to see the young Swiss winger be on the same level as Viktor Arvidsson and Filip Forsberg.
All stats and charts are courtesy of hockey-reference.com and hockeyviz.com.