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2014 NHL Draft Central

Nashville Predators select Kevin Fiala with the 11th overall selection

Deciding to keep their 11th overall pick instead of trading it out, the Predators chose a forward for the first time with their first round pick since choosing Austin Watson in the 2010 draft. Selecting Kevin Fiala from HV71 of Sweden, Nashville bolstered their winger depth with a fantastic selection.

Hailing from Switzerland, the forward was all smiles as he spoke to the media throngs after his selection.

“I’m excited. I think it’s one step in the right direction, but it’s not done yet. It’s one step in, maybe, five. The next step is to make the team and play. I’m going work hard and do everything to make the team,” said Fiala.

A potentially lethal player with fantastic playmaking abilities that is very difficult to knock off his feet, Fiala could one day provide a huge offensive punch to a Nashville team that has been trying to draft one of their own for years.

Some thought that Fiala’s size hampered him in the draft and could have possibly rose him to the top-five if he were a shade bigger. Yet, when asked about it, Fiala was extremely confident that he was already the size he should be, comparing his size to one of the current greats in the NHL.

“I’m the same size as Sidney Crosby and I don’t care what the others say. I’m pretty big. Crosby is one of the best in the worlds and he can show his size, that he’s the best. I’m not worried,” said Fiala.

Scoring 11 points (3g, 8a) in 17 games with HV71’s SHL team and scoring 25 points (10g, 15a) in 27 games with HV71’s under-20 team, Fiala is a crafty young winger with absolutely dangerous speed. Ultimately, Fiala could do well if he were to start in North America this season, at least for the Milwaukee Admirals. However, no matter where Fiala lands, he’s ready to work to get to the NHL, an ultimate goal of his.

“If they want me to play in the NHL this year, I’ll be very happy and I would be so excited to play in the NHL. If not, life goes on. You just have to keep working hard and some time will come,” said Fiala. “My goal is the NHL, of course, but this year I’m going to give my 100 percent and see what happens.”

Fiala already has experience with players on Nashville’s rosters, playing with Roman Josi and Simon Moser at this year’s World Championships in Belarus. In his time playing for the Swiss national team, he learned plenty from the star Predators defenseman.

“I played with him at the World Championships on a big team there. I like him. I love him. He’s a good player, he helped me a lot in the worlds. He’s a good person off the ice, very good on the ice. I think I can learn very much from him,” said Fiala.

Overall, instant reaction on Fiala is that he’s a great young man with high potential to be a quality (and potential fruitful) forward for the Nashville Predators in due time. While I don’t expect him to instantly start in North America, most likely heading back to Sweden, I do feel it won’t be long before he makes it in one avenue or another with the Predators.

Fiala is a classic example of a high-risk/high-reward draft choice, something Nashville hasn’t been too keen in the past on drafting. He could easily end up being a scoring dynamo in the NHL or his size could be a true deterrent with tougher and faster competition.

While nothing is ever set in stone, Nashville has a real gem in Fiala. If he continues to develop well, he should be a fantastic player for the franchise for years to come.