Few high-caliber players in the NHL excel at taking the puck from opponents and rarely cough it up. Kevin Fiala is one player who excelled last season due to his hand-eye coordination. This may come as a surprise to the vast majority of people due to the team he belongs to, but Kevin Fiala is a superstar at handling the puck. He has recently established himself as a top-line winger in Minnesota. So far, he has continued to be dominant with the puck even though his linemate, Eric Staal, was sent to Buffalo Sabres over the offseason. Fiala was slightly shy of being a point per game last year. He amassed 23 goals and 31 assists last season and his +/- rating was pretty much neutral.
What Caused Fiala to Succeed in 2019-2020
A change of scenery for Fiala was definitely in the cards. Drafted by the Nashville Predators with the 11th overall selection in the 2014 entry draft, it would be an understatement to say Nashville had high hopes for the winger. However, Nashville was underwhelmed and exchanged him for veteran center Mikael Granlund in 2019. Although Fiala did not explode onto the scene when he was dealt at the trade deadline to Minnesota, he certainly found his grove in his first full season. He is Minnesota’s best forward at this moment in time as cornerstones Marco Rossi and Kirill Kaprizov continue to develop.
How Has He Fared This Season?
Fiala is a master at getting the puck and not giving it back to the opponent. To this point in the season, his takeaway to giveaway ratio is 5:1. His puck handling allows teammates around him to get open as he evades defenders and creates space. So far, only two players are ahead of him, in takeaway to giveaway ratio; however, Fiala has established himself at the NHL level while the other two have nowhere near his offensive talent. Fiala has also received a boost in ice time so far this season. So, his production should only get better from here on out. These factors are key reasons why Fiala has the best hands in the league.
How do you think Fiala will perform over the shortened season? Will he lead Minnesota to the playoffs? Leave your thoughts in the comments section down below.