Born: Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, Russia
Height/Weight: 6’3”/212 lbs.
Contract: 2 years rem., $863.3K AAV (Entry-Level Contract)
It was an up-and-down season for Evgeny Svechnikov to say the least. He started off the preseason with a neck strain and missed a few weeks because of it and never really seemed to find his groove. The young Russian forward was a front runner to make the leap from Grand Rapids last season after hoisting the Calder Cup the year before, but seemed to disappoint on the scoresheet with just 23 points in 57 games. It was a step back in his development, but the Red Wings saw it necessary to call him up late in the season for a cup of coffee, totaling four points in 14 appearances. Svechnikov re-joined his Griffins teammates for the AHL playoffs where they lost in five games of their firs-round matchup with the Manitoba Moose.
What He Did vs. Expectations
Here’s the thing: did we really have lofty expectations for the man they call “Chevy” in his brief time with the big club? Sure, the hope was that he would give this team a shot in the arm offensively down the stretch and insert some life into the lineup, but that just didn’t seem to happen. He’s a big, skilled, smooth-skating forward with a lot of potential that struggled in a bottom six role for the Wings (much of this has to do with his lack of a defensive presence up front). Don’t get me wrong, I like the prospect of “Chevy” in the lineup and what he might bring to this Wings lineup one day, but if any of you were looking for him to torch up opposing goaltending each night, then I think you needed to temper expectations. Averaging 8:49 of ice-time doesn’t necessarily lead to the type of offensive chances you would hope to see a player of his stature get.
Final Grade: D
Honestly, I’m struggling with where to put Svechnikov’s season on a grading scale because what did we expect? It was too small of a sample size to reflect any real assessment of his progress as a player and one would think he has to be considered as one of the younger prospects to get a look before the puck drops on next year’s campaign. I say “D” because he didn’t perform the way he should have in the AHL this season — 51 points in 74 games as a rookie last year suggests a regression. The Griffins looked for him to be a catalyst up front, but he really struggled with the slow start (there was a 15-game stretch from November to December in which he recorded a single point). Going forward, Ken Holland mentioned there would be more than a few new faces up from the minors next year, and I do hope one of them is the 21-year-old. However, based on his AHL season, maybe he could still benefit from starting with the Griffins again?
How would you grade Svechnikov this season?
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