The first round of the 2014 NHL Draft emanates from Philadelphia on June 27 with the Washington Capitals holding the 13th overall selection. Over the next week, I will profile five potential draftees that could realistically be available to Washington.
Position: Left Wing
Team: HV71 (Swedish Hockey League)
Age: 17 (July 22, 1996)
NHL Central Scouting Final Ranking: No. 3 (European Skaters)
Fiala represented Switzerland in the World Junior Championship, the Under-18 World Championship and the World Championship in 2014, becoming just the third player to represent his country in all three events in the same year.
He scored 25 points (10 goals, 15 assists) in 27 games for HV71 in Sweden's Under-20 league. According to ESPN's Corey Pronman, Fiala had the second-highest rate of points per game in the SHL among under-18 players in modern history behind Peter Forsberg.
Fiala, as Pronman notes, is the kind of high-risk, high-reward player with skill that Washington typically targets. His selection would also continue Washington's recent fascination with Sweden. Fiala would be the sixth Swedish-born or Swedish league player drafted in the first round by the Capitals since 2006 (Nicklas Backstrom, Anton Gustafsson, Marcus Johansson, Filip Forsberg, Andre Burakovsky).
"He impressed with his explosive skating, great puck-handling skills and overall quickness and speed. He has great offensive instincts and is full of surprises in the offensive zone. He just needs a bit more muscle and strength and some work in his defensive zone."
"He can make highlight-reel plays with the puck, and he's also a really good passer with great hockey IQ, and doesn't seem to turn the puck over. On the power play, Fiala is the kind of player you want controlling the puck and starting the puck movement. He's 5-11, and while that isn't ideal, he does battle hard and has a lot of drive to his game. Fiala needs to improve his defensive positioning."
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