It's been a growing trend in recent years, the "Russian Factor" has made talented young Russian hockey players fall in the draft rankings. We saw a highly-talented Russian player in Ivan Barbashev fall to the second round last year because of this.. Why? Because of what happened with Ilya Kovalchuk.. A player could just up and leave for his home country to play in the KHL, and teams have grown fearsome of such things. It's silly really, if you have a highly-skilled player, you're telling me you would be reluctant to take him because of his nationality? Nonsense.
Today, we have a young Russian player on the docket. 18-year-old Evgeny Svechnikov of the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles (QMJHL.) A big, gifted offensive force looking to make a career playing hockey in North America.
Name: Evgeny Svechnikov
Position: Left Wing/Center
Born: October 31, 1996 -- Neftegorsk, Russia
Weight: 205 lbs.
|2013-2014||Ak Bars Kazan||KHL||3||0||0||0||0|
|Russia U18||Hlinka Memorial||4||0||0||0||8|
|2014-2015||Cape Breton Screaming Eagles||QMJHL||55||32||46||78||70|
|Cape Breton Screaming Eagles||JCWC||4||2||2||4||14|
|Russian Selects||Jr Super Series||2||0||0||0||0|
|Russia U20 (all)||International-Jr||2||0||0||0||0|
This kid is big, and when you mix that with his offensive aptitude, you get a dangerous offensive force. Svechnikov posted 78 points (32 goals, 46 assists) in his first season with his junior team. He's a player that has continuously risen in the rankings over the past year because of his success in his first season playing in North America.
Described mainly as a "power forward," Svechnikov has displayed a slick set of hands, and elite ability to dish up the puck to his teammates. Cape Breton head coach Marc-Andre Dumont said that there is "no doubt in his mind" that Evgeny wants to play in the NHL one day. With high-praises from coaching for hard work in the gym, watching film, or on the ice, Svechnikov has a high ceiling to be a scoring power forward at the NHL level one day.
Here is what @TPLHockey has to say about Evgeny Svechnikov:
Hoping to buck the "Russian Factor," Svechnikov came to North America before this season to play for Cape Breton. Like many European players before him, he has incredible hands and a natural set of skills, making him a dangerous offensive threat. There’s no doubt that he’s the kind of player you need to pay attention to when he’s on the ice, and his good size (6’3, 205) will earn him a spot in the middle of the first round.
STYLE COMPARISON: Dany Heatley (when he was actually useful)
ISS RANKING: #18
NHL CSS RANKING: North American #17
He's a player that has kept moving up in the ranks, so there is a good chance he might be gone by the time Detroit is on the clock, but there is always a chance that the "Russian Factor" will play in. I think he's a lock for the first round.
Svechnikov has a big advantage here: He's played in the KHL, a professional league. He was only seventeen years old, but it's great experience for a young player like him to have. After watching video and reading scouting reports on him, he strikes me a lot of an Evgeni Malkin lite. Big frame, good skating, wicked slick hands, and a natural love for scoring. My guess is that if he wasn't Russian, he'd be a top fifteen pick, easy. However, what happened to Ivan Barbashev could happen to Evgeny Svechnikov - Immensely skilled player with a fairly high ceiling drop in the drafting ranks due to reluctancy to draft him.
Players like Svechnikov are always a premium to NHL teams. Detroit would be smart to draft him if he's available come their time.
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