2015 NHL Draft Profile #21: Evgeny Svechnikov

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The 2nd overall pick by AK Bars Kazan in the 2013 KHL Draft, Evgeny Svechnikov is a late-96 birthday who had an excellent tournament for Russia at last spring’s Under-18s. He was also part of Russia’s 2013 Silver medal winning U17 squad, and the silver medal winning team at the 2013 World Junior “A” Championships. After playing just three games in a full KHL season with Kazan, often being a healthy scratch or playing with the junior team, Svechnikov decided that he would come to the CHL to get more opportunities.  He was the 63rd overall pick by the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles in the 2013 CHL Import Draft, he joined the team this past season.  In his first season in North America, Svechnikov is opening eyes with his offensive ability, putting up 32 goals and 78 points in 55 games for the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles. Svechnikov added 7 points in 7 playoff games before the Screaming Eagles were eliminated.

Despite playing in North America, Svechnikov must be aware of the Russian Factor that seemed to see Nikolai Goldobin, Ivan Barbashev, and Nikita Scherbak drafted lower than their skills should have seen them taken last year.  He is the second Russian in our draft rankings after Ivan Provorov.  That said Svechnikov will tell anyone who will listen that he has no plans to ever play in the KHL, and wants to be an NHL player.

Evgeny Svechnikov

Left Wing — shoots Left
Born Oct 31 1996 – Neftegorsk, Russia
Height 6.03 — Weight 204 lbs [191 cm/92 kg]

Evgeny Svechnikov has good size at 6’3″ and shows off an outstanding wrist shot and release. He also has an impressive snap shot and a very hard one-timer.  When it comes to his shooting arsenal, Svechnikov has pro-ready skills.  However, he is not just a one-trick pony as Svechnikov also has excellent vision and passing ability. He shows high-end offensive hockey IQ, making very smart plays with the puck on his stick and finding openings in the defence without it.  He has tremendous skill and the stickhandling ability to protect the puck and to get by defenders. He also shows the willingness to play a power game when necessary, getting in hard on the forecheck, and battling hard in the corners and in front of the net.  He pressures defenders and has been known to throw a big hit.

Evgeny Svechnikov is a strong skater with very good speed and acceleration. He loves to drive the net and can finish in close when he gets there. He shows great versatility on the rush as he has the speed to take a defender wide, the agility and strong stickhandling to beat them with his lateral movement, or by fooling them with changing speeds.  He could add some lower body strength and be a bit stronger and more balanced on the puck.

Evgeny Svechnikov needs a lot of work in his defensive game.  He tries to help out in his own end and uses his size to battle for pucks, but the other areas of his game are weak.  He gets himself out of position and leaves the opposing team with passing lanes on a regular basis.  He seems to try hard, but needs to really be coached on what he needs to do when he doesn’t have the puck.  Svechnikov could improve with time, but right now his defensive game looks weak.

Evgeny Svechnikov has all the offensive skill to be a top line NHL forward if he meets his potential.  There are some questions about his defensive game though, and he has a number of things he can learn from another year in junior and maybe a short AHL stint to follow that. Svechnikov’s style is reminiscent of Ilya Kovalchuk, but this is a stylistic comparison only and not a talent comparison with the former Thrashers/Devils star.

Below are some videos of Evgeny Svechnikov in action.

Be sure to come back tomorrow to check out the #22 prospect on my draft board.