High Upside Winger Evgeny Svechnikov An Option At #18


Evgeny Svechnikov, Cape Breton Screaming Eagles (QMJHL)

Birthplace: Neftegorsk, Russia

Birthdate: October 31st, 1996

Position: Left Wing

Shoots: Left

Height/Weight: 6’3″, 205 lbs

2014-15 Statline: 55 GP, 32 G, 46 A (78 pts)

Scout Rankings: 18 (Hockeyprospect.com), 18 (ISS Hockey), 18 (Future Considerations), 23 (McKeen’s Hockey), 17 (NHL Central Scouting)

Scouting Report:

From draftsite.com, this is what their most recent mock draft looks like:

Although Svechnikov is ranked at #12 on their list, I don’t think he will end up going that high. All of the other scouting reports I mentioned earlier have him right around the Senators range in the late teens. Also, despite him playing in North America this past season, there are usually some teams that shy away from Russian players simply because of the KHL threat. It’s usually a bogus reason, but it exists nonetheless.

Svechnikov is a very skilled winger and he’s shown that in Russia and in Canada. Here are his career stats to date:

His 2014-15 season in Cape Breton was extremely impressive, as he finished 10th in the league in points per game. The one thing that has to be taken into consideration is that he is a ’96 birth year, meaning he’s at least a few months older than all of the ’97 born players. So while his stats are great, they do have to be scaled back a tad to compensate for his age. Nevertheless, he’s a high upside winger that could become a mainstay for any team.

According to Curtis Joe (EP 2014), the only part of his game that needs a bit of work is his defensive skills:

"Incredibly skilled offensive winger. Has a remarkably accurate shot to go along with some magic hands. Could be better defensively, but his game is based around his acute sense of what is happening on the ice in the offensive zone. All-in-all, a deadly player who possesses good size, elite-level skill, and smooth skating."

The list of attributes for him seem to never end, as he essentially possesses it all expect for a solid defensive game. Bill Placzek added his thoughts to Svechnikov’s game as well:

"Big bodied Russian import whose hands and feet can at times make him a dominant player in games. Has a good shot and feet. Possesses a big frame that has room for more weight. A member of his homeland’s team roster for the World Junior Under-20 at Christmas 2014."

From those reports, there seems very little not to like about him. He is a big player and will get bigger over the next few years, but the fact that he has good foot speed makes him so valuable. The main reason Mark Stone was drafted so low was because of his poor skating. He had the size and the skill, but his skating didn’t look like it would translate to the NHL.

Stone has gotten much better over time, and he looks fine now. With a smooth stride I can’t imagine Svechnikov having trouble playing as a rookie in the NHL. The only thing is, I am curious to see if his late birthdate caused him to look better than he actually is. He’s older than most of the draft prospects, so it’s not exactly a level playing field. The next step for him would be to be at the top of the league in scoring next year, and then we’ll know that he’s a legitimate top prospect.

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Does He Fit With Ottawa?

While Ottawa has a tendency to stay away from Russian players, Svechnikov should be an exception. He did play in the KHL and MHL (minor league in Russia), but this past season he came over to Cape Breton to play in the QMJHL. He clearly wants to play in North America, and there shouldn’t be any risk with him at least in terms of him possibly leaving.

It is a bit worrying that his defensive game isn’t quite where it needs to be, considering that Ottawa struggles in that department too. However, they lack high-end players of his caliber so taking a chance on him may pay off.

The Senators would have their first legitimate sniper on the first line since Dany Heatley

Their current left wingers are Clarke MacArthur, Mike Hoffman, Milan Michalek, and potentially Erik Condra if he is re-signed. Beyond that, there’s Matt Puempel and Tobias Lindberg, but not much else. Hoffman has some high potential, but he won’t ever be near a point a game player. That’s why Svechnikov would be an interesting pick, because the Senators would have their first legitimate sniper on the first line since Dany Heatley.

Stone has become a first liner in his own way, but not as a sniper per se. Imagine a first line of Svechnikov-Turris-Stone? It would be quite lethal, and the Ottawa scouts should be drooling by looking at that.

He doesn’t necessarily fit Ottawa’s needs, but he would help to add some high-end skill to their lineup. Ottawa won’t find that in a trade, but they could at the draft.

Next: Ottawa Senators Should Pursue Defenseman Alex Edler