Forward Tom Novak has agreed to a two-year NHL contract with the Nashville Predators, five years after skating for the Waterloo Black Hawks.
Novak was originally drafted by Nashville following his lone season in Waterloo. During the 2015 NHL Draft, the Predators picked him during the third round, 85th overall.
Leading up to that selection, Novak accumulated 48 points (14 goals, 34 assists) in 46 Hawks games. He was Waterloo’s second-leading scorer and top assist producer, despite being sidelined for nearly a quarter of the season either by injury or while playing with the U.S. Junior Select Team during the 2014 World Junior A Challenge (he was the top U.S. scorer and helped the United States win a gold medal during that event). Novak’s time with the Hawks included five three-assist performances. He also led the 2014/15 squad with a +14 plus/minus differential.
From Waterloo, Novak played four seasons for the Minnesota Gophers. As a collegian, he recorded 88 points (18 goals, 70 assists) in 129 career games.
This winter, he has been skating for the Milwaukee Admirals of the American Hockey League, ranking third on the team with 42 points (11 goals, 31 assists). Novak is the Admirals’ top rookie scorer and his assist total stands third among all AHL rookies. At +20, Novak’s plus/minus is second among first-year AHL’ers.
The Black Hawks have a long-standing connection with Nashville through Craig Smith. Debuting with the Predators in 2011, Smith has spent his entire professional career with the organization and recorded his 300th NHL point this season. In addition to Smith, defenseman Mark Eaton also played NHL games for the club, from 2000/01 to 2005/06. Forward Rem Pitlick also debuted for Nashville near the end of 2018/19 after being drafted by the organization in 2016.
Novak is the second Black Hawks alumnus to sign an NHL entry-level contract this week, following David Cotton, who reached a deal with the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday.
Black Hawks alumni updates are presented by Karen’s Print Rite.