Red Wings Prospect Evgeny Svechnikov is Impressing in the QMJHL

Over the past month or so, those who are paying close attention to the 2016 NHL draft have seen a surge in the hype surrounding Pierre-Luc Dubois. The Cape Breton forward is moving up the draft rankings and will likely be a top-10 pick this June but every time I sit down to watch any of his play, all I can see is his Screaming Eagles linemate Evgeni Svechnikov. The young Russian winger was drafted by the Red Wings last year 19th overall.

Svechnikov is a blend of size and skill and may get Dubois drafted this season a little higher than he deserves. He’s got the potential to be a top-line scoring winger and is probably closer to the NHL than many of the other players drafted in the second half of the first round. After being selected second overall in the 2013 KHL draft by AK Bars Kazan, Svechnikov showed scouts just how well he compared to his peers when he looked dominant for Russia during the2014  IIHF U18 World Championship. After an impressive performance in the summer, the young Russian decided to leave home and join the CHL to pursue his goal of playing in the NHL. Joining Cape Breton of the QMJHL, Svechnikov had a standout rookie season last year. Putting up 32 goals and 78 assists in only 55 games, Svechnikov showed a nose for the net and a natural ability to finish. 

This season, Svechnikov has continued to grow and has looked even more impressive. Playing with Dubois most shifts, the line is able to terrorize opponents using their size and strength to sustain possession deep in the attacking zone. He’ll never be accused of being the best defensive player in the world (does anyone play defense in The Q?), but when he gets the puck in his own end, Svechnikov has the speed and acceleration to turn on the attack instantly. 

Svechnikov has the skill set that NHL team dream of. He’s big, strong, explosive and has the ability to carry the puck in transition. He’s got a keen sense of where to be on the ice and always seems to be in the position to be able to take advantage of errant passes to cause possession change. He can play on either wing, although Svenchnikov has spent most of his time this season on the right side. He can play off the boards but is most dangerous with the puck on his stick in open space. 

Despite having a very underwhelming 2016 World Juniors, Svechnikov has shown this season that he is easily the Red Wings top prospect. Turning 20 next October, he’s likely to make the jump to the AHL and is likely only one more season away from the NHL. He’s got all the talent to be a dominant winger in the NHL and along with Dylan Larkin, people around the league are going to start asking how they let these guys fall to the middle of the first round for the Red Wings to snatch up every year.