The Nashville Predators have rewarded a minor league forward for his hard work this season, signing Tommy Novak to a two-year entry-level contract. The 22-year old Novak spent the year with the Milwaukee Admirals on an AHL contract after finishing his career at the University of Minnesota and has now earned himself a big league deal. Nashville director of player development Scott Nichol explained exactly why the Predators signed Novak:
Tommy is a person who has earned everything that he’s been given. We’ve wanted him in our system for a long time – he signed an AHL deal with Milwaukee for this season and has had a fantastic year. We love his skillset, his hockey sense, how he makes plays and how he sees the ice so well. We’re excited to have him with us for the next couple of seasons and are looking forward to seeing him continue to grow and develop as a player.
Novak recorded 42 points in his rookie AHL season, impressive enough to obviously catch the eye of the Predators. Still just 22 until the end of April there may even be room for him to experience more improvement and be a contributor at the NHL level down the line. That’s still perhaps a distant dream, but getting an NHL contract was an important step towards it.
It’s not out of the question for a player that was originally drafted 85th overall back in 2015. If he does get to the NHL he’ll join Yakov Trenin, Anthony Richard and Alexandre Carrier as selections from that draft class that have played for Nashville, an impressive crop considering they were all drafted outside the top-50.