The Nashville Predators had been known for years for being masterful at drafting top defensemen, but not really bringing in high-skill players at forward. That's starting to change though as the team has brought in promising youngsters via trade like Calle Jarnkrok and Filip Forsberg and this year spent the No. 11 overall pick on dynamic Swiss forward Kevin Fiala.
The Preds new first-rounder, along with 2014 fourth-round pick Viktor Arvidsson put on a little bit of a show at the Predators' development camp this weekend in Nashville. There's not a lot to be taken from these prospect camps, but it's still interesting to give fans a glimpse at the future of the club.
Without the pressure of a real game, the youngsters have a little more latitude to get fancy for the small crowds that show up for a sneak peek.
So Fiala and Arvidsson took full advantage during a post-scrimmage shootout at Bridgestone Arena and pulled two of the better moves you'll see.
Arvidsson actually takes the cake on this one as he pulled off the rare, puck under stick spin-o-rama goal. He skates in on the goaltender, does the spin move and that usually ends with a sliding backhand past the goalie. Not this time, though. Arvidsson actually spun effectively enough to get the goaltender moving and just when it looked like he'd slip the puck by, he tucked it back and shot it into the open side on his forehand. To keep control of the puck like that with it under the blade and still have the quickness to switch to the forehand is just filthy.
Then it was Fiala's turn. His move is something you see pretty often, with the player stickhandling as if he's going one way, only to put the puck back to his stick and one-handedly glide it into the open net. It's known primarily as “The Forsberg.” Fiala's shot, however was one of the cleanest versions of that move that you'll see. Just look how close he lets himself get to the goaltender before pulling the move and confidently tucking the puck home.
It must be tough being a Predators goalie prospect these days with such highly-skilled guys making them look silly.
Both Arvidsson and Fiala played in Sweden's top professional league last year.
Arvidsson, who is 21 years old, put up 40 points in 50 games last season for Skelleftea, while Fiala, who won't turn 18 until July 22, had 11 points in 27 games for HV71. Fiala also had 25 points in 27 games with HV71's under-20 squad.
It might just be a prospect camp, but skill is skill and when it's on display like that, Predators fans must be getting pretty excited about perhaps seeing them in Nashville sooner than later.