Whether getting suspended for a two-handed cheap shot, or setting a franchise record, Russian prospect and former KHLer Evgeny Svechnikov made a ton of noise as a rookie in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
Here is everything you need to know about the NHL Draft prospect.
Birthplace: Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, Russia
Current team: Cape Breton Screaming Eagles, QMJHL
Position: Left wing
North American Central Scouting rank: 17
Weight: 199 pounds
Twitter account: @ESvechnikov
Marek’s Take: Big, strong winger who can also play centre in a pinch. Really protects the puck well and has great speed to go with it. A terrifying player to go up against one-on-one. Combination of size and competiveness. Teams went after him all season in Cape Breton and he gave it right back. Really strong on his skates. Comparable: Max Pacioretty
Svechnikov’s father worked at a hockey shop in Russia.
“He sharpened skates,” Svechnikov told the Columbus Blue Jackets website. “He did the simple work and nothing more. My parents said to me, ‘Evgeny, you play hockey,’ and that was how I started playing.”
He turned pro at 16.
Svechnikov made his Kontinental Hockey League debut in 2013-14 at the age of 16. The prodigy was drafted second overall in the 2013 KHL draft by Ak Bars Kazan. In just three games of action against grown men, he failed to register a point and registered a minus-1 rating.
He set the Quebec league on fire as a rookie.
Svechnikov wasn’t drafted until the second round (63rd overall) of the CHL Import Draft, but he absolutely lit it up as a first-year forward with the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles. His 32 goals demolished the franchise record for red lamps by a rookie. He added 46 assists for an incredible 78 points in 55 games and was named to the league’s all-rookie team. He was a point-a-game players (seven in seven) in the QMJHL playoffs, too.
Offence is not an issue with him.
Teams tempted to add some scoring touch would be wise to consider Svechnikov, whose defensive-zone skills are less noteworthy. But it’s easier to teach defence than an accurate shot, gifted hands, a smooth stride and penchant for physical play.
“I became stronger on the puck and on the boards,” Svechnikov said. “Maybe I play better defensively.”
He never watched NHL hockey until last year.
“I know it’s important to play [in Canada] if I want to be in the NHL,” Svechnikov told the Blue Jackets site. “I wanted to play here before getting drafted. I wanted to try Canadian hockey, so I play here and I was excited. I never had a chance to watch [the NHL] in Russia because of the time difference; I just hear the news.”
Svechnikov owns up to his (rather nasty) mistakes.
The power forward, who had 70 penalty minutes this past season, was suspended three games for a double-handed stick to the neck on a player from the Baie-Comeau Drakkar on March 1. “I was suspended before [in Russia] for one game but never three games,” he explained. “I know it is my fault.”