RIVER FALLS, Wis.-- River Falls native Tommy Novak has signed a two-year, entry-level contract with the NHL’s Nashville Predators, the team announced March 25.
Born and raised in River Falls, Novak played high school hockey at St. Thomas Academy in St. Paul where he helped the team to MSHSL Class A state titles in 2011-12 and 2012-13. He totaled 151 points (65 goals, 86 assists) in 75 career games with St. Thomas Academy and his 44 assists in 2013-14 were a STA record.
Originally drafted by the Predators in the third round (85th overall) of the 2015 NHL Draft, Novak spent four years at the University of Minnesota from 2015-19, tallying 88 points (18g-70a) in 129 games. He reached the 20-point mark in three of his four seasons with the Golden Gophers and helped lead his team to two consecutive Big Ten regular-season titles in 2016 and 2017.
Prior to enrolling at Minnesota, Novak skated with the USHL's Waterloo Black Hawks in 2014-15 and was second on his team in scoring with 48 points (14g-34a) in 46 games.
Internationally he helped the U.S. Junior Select Team win its sixth tournament title in seven years at the 2014 World Junior A Challenge in Kindersley, Saskatchewan, and won gold with the U.S. Under-17 Select Team at the 2014 Five Nations Tournament in Slovakia.
He led all skaters with 11 points (five goals, six assists) at the 2014 Ivan Hlinka Tournament as the U.S. Under-18 Select Team earned a bronze medal in Breclav, Czech Republic and Piestany, Slovakia, and also skated for USA Hockey at the 2013 IIHF Under-18 Four Nations Cup in Kupittaa, Finland.
Most recently Novak was in his rookie season with the Milwaukee Admirals of the AHL, where his 42 points (11g, 31a) in 60 games were the most by a first-year Milwaukee skater since the 2015-16 campaign. In November, he became the first Admirals player since 2015 to earn AHL Rookie of the Month honors after tallying 13 points (3g-10a) in 12 games to help Milwaukee post a franchise-best 13-game win streak.
"Tommy is a person who has earned everything that he's been given," Admirals GM and Predators Director of Player Development Scott Nichol said. "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."