Red Wings draft picks have made somewhat of a habit recently of taking their game to a new level the season after being drafted by the Red Wings. While Evgeny did not see the increase in point productions like some previous picks did, he did continue to show the things that made the Red Wings take him with the 19th overall pick in the 2015 draft.
In watching Geno both on the ice and in interviews two things stand out right away to me, his poise and his decisiveness. Check out these two interview clips, the first one was from the first time he met the media at the Joe after being drafted. The second is a brief clip from an interview conducted by the folks over at MLive after his first practice with the Grand Rapids Griffins after joining them back in April of this year.
Notice how calm and unafraid he is. He is not even afraid to give an honest answer when he was asked if Pavel Datsyuk was one of his favorite players growing up (spoiler...he was a Pavel Bure fan). This same calm confidence can be seen a lot of times in his play on the ice. Of course, it is easier to be calm and confident when you have the offensive skills Svechnikov has as well.
Kyle says it best in his update on the 2015 draft class:
In addition to his appealing size, Svechnikov is billed as a smooth-skating and skilled winger who posses a remarkable shot accompanied by a magical set of hands. Does this discreption sound vaguely familiar to another Russian who fans in Hockeytown have come to know and love?
Now, I am by no means saying that Evgeny Svechnikov is the second coming of Pavel Datsyuk, nor would I ever unfairly utter such blasphemy, but I am saying that Svechnikov is an extremely talented young Russian hockey player that fans of the Detroit Red Wings should very much look forward to wearing the winged wheel someday.
Check out the highlight package from a game back in September where he had two goals and two assists.
The scoring instinct he shows on both his goals is good but for me the skill that really stands out is his ability to get the puck. Be it a bad pass, a blocked or missed shot or him simply taking the puck away from the other team he wants the puck on his stick and is willing to do what he needs to to get it.
Of course, as with any young player there are some things that need work as well. While he is calm and confident on the ice his positioning is not always the best and he does have a bit of the riverboat gambler gene when it comes to his passing. Also, while he has a solid frame already, the fact that he is still only 19 and going into his first full season as a professional hockey player means he can work on improving his overall strength and conditioning as well.
Barring something extremely out of left field, Svechnikov will start the season in Grand Rapids. It could be very interesting to see if Mantha is unable to force the Red Wings hand and keep him on the roster if Coach Nelson is willing to put Mantha and Svechnikov on the same line together at some point. Neither is really going to wow in the defensive but they could really wreak some havoc on the AHL offensively. Even if they are not on the same line, it is going to be fun as a Red Wings fan (hopefully) watching Svechnikov develop this season and see how hungry he is for the NHL.