Red Wings' High-Scoring Prospect Evgeny Svechnikov Nearly NHL-Ready

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While the Detroit Red Wings' run of 25 straight seasons with a playoff appearance is likely coming to an end this April, a new streak could soon be on its way behind the franchise's promising youth movement.

Aside from 20-year-old Dylan Larkin and 22-year-olds Anthony Mantha and Andreas Athanasiou, the Red Wings have an aging core. The trio of youngsters has shown it will be a big part of Detroit's future alongside another player who has yet to even play an NHL game.

That prospect is Evgeny Svechnikov, who Detroit drafted 19th overall in 2015. The 6-foot-3, 205-pound winger was chosen by the Red Wings for his combination of size, a deadly shot, and smooth skating.

Evgeny Svechnikov poses for a photo with Detroit Red Wings team executives after being selected as the No. 19 overall pick to the Red Wings in the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

At the time, the 20-year-old Russian was also coming off of a 32-goal, 78-point rookie campaign for Cape Breton of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. He followed up his rookie year with another 32 goals and 79 points but in five fewer games.

Following his sophomore year with the Screaming Eagles, Svechnikov joined Detroit's American Hockey League affiliate in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and notched an assist in one of his two playoff games for the Griffins.

Svechnikov's history of quickly adapting to the next level can drastically accelerate Detroit's rebuild, and given his play in the AHL this year, he appears nearly ready to do just that.

The rookie seemed overwhelmed during his first 25 games with Grand Rapids, managing just five goals and 10 points. But much like his time in the QMJHL, he has learned fast with the Griffins and added another 10 goals and 21 points over his next 25 games.

Perhaps most impressive is the power forward's current 12-game point streak, having posted five goals and 14 points in that span.

Rounding Out His Game

There are still some areas the big-bodied winger has to work on. One is his two-way game, which means more defensive awareness and fewer penalties.

Svechnikov's stats do show some growth in his two-way game. He finished his rookie year in Cape Breton with a plus-19 rating in the regular season followed by a minus-4 rating in seven playoff games. Yikes.

In his second year of junior hockey, Svechnikov posted a regular season plus/minus rating of plus-26 and a plus-7 rating in 13 playoff games. OK, getting better.

In his two-game debut with Grand Rapids last season, Svechnikov went minus-2. Through 50 games this season, he has turned that minus-2 into a plus-2, and it's not because scoring all of his points on the powerplay.

His dedication to offense is molding him into a defensive liability, and that's not something the Red Wings organization usually tolerates.

The Russian's penalty rate could also be cause for concern; however, he registered 167 PIM in his 105 games with Cape Breton. Seventy of those PIM came in 2015-16, and the other 97 came during the five fewer games he played in 2016-17. That means he was trending the wrong way.

He has 48 PIM with Grand Rapids this year -- an average of nearly a penalty per game. No matter the level you're at or organization you're playing for, that's unacceptable.

Part of Svechnikov's undoing is standing up for teammates, which is often a good trait, but he has also shown a knack for taking dumb penalties. He'll need to keep his composure and minimize his time in the box when he reaches the NHL.

Should the young Russian be able to kick these bad habits, he could be an NHL star in the making with his scoring ability.

Svechnikov will look to keep his point streak alive when he expectedly returns to the lineup after missing Grand Rapids' last game with a finger injury. The Griffins host the Milwaukee Admirals in back-to-back games at Van Andel Arena on Feb. 24 and Feb. 25.

'If You Ain't First, You're Last': Erie Otters Take Step Back In OHL

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By Jacob Messing

A historic Erie Otters season ended suddenly in late May when host Windsor defeated the regular season champions 4-3 for the Memorial Cup, given to the winner of a four-team tournament played

Knights Have ‘Golden’ NHL Debut

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By Jacob Messing

The past few months have been full of firsts for the Vegas Golden Knights, the NHL’s 31st franchise.

In March they signed Brandon Wheat Kings center Reid Duke, in June they sifted through opposing rosters during the expansion draft and selected one player from each team, and later in the summer they unveiled their home jerseys.

10 NCAA Players To Watch In 2017-18


By Jacob Messing

The wait is almost over for hockey fans.

Social media is teeming with #IsItOctoberYet, NHL training camps have started, and teams are beginning to take shape. But mid-September doesn’t just mean a new professional season; the puck is set to drop October 1 for college hockey.

Who Will Replace Nashville's Ryan Ellis?

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By Jacob Messing

Last week, the Nashville Predators announced they would be without rising defenseman Ryan Ellis until the turn of the calendar year. The 26-year-old Canadian is recovering from offseason knee surgery and has not begun skating yet.

Intersection Of NHL Trading Trends And Matt Duchene Deal

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By Jacob Messing

Is Nugent-Hopkins A Fit As Penguins Third Line Center?

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By Jacob Messing

A New Test For Griffins’ Sadowy

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By Jacob Messing

The last three years have been complicated for Dylan Sadowy.

He’s played in the OHL, AHL, and ECHL, been drafted into the NHL by one team, and traded to another -- although he’s yet to play a game in the world’s best league.

5 Best NHL Players On Each Side Of 30

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By Jacob Messing

Earlier this month, Sidney Crosby turned 30 years old, and even at that benchmark age the Pittsburgh Penguins captain still remains at the forefront of any argument about who is the best player in the world.

However, that’s not to say a new generation of budding stars won’t be entering the conversation soon.

The NHL is becoming increasingly younger, and 20-year-old phenom Connor McDavid highlights the future of the game. So, rather than compare them -- given that Crosby has 10 years on the Edmonton Oilers’ young captain -- we decided to break down the best players by age groups, those above 30 and those below.

AHL Sophomores To Watch In 2017-18

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By Jacob Messing

Late summer is typically when hockey fans ask, “Is it October yet?”

While the start of the season is still a long way off, camps begin in a month -- a time for high-end prospects and AHL players to get good, long looks from their coaches as teams push for roster spots and players seek to fulfill their NHL dreams.

Why Danis Zaripov Won’t Find An NHL Home

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By Jacob Messing

KHL star Danis Zaripov is reportedly eyeing to play his hockey stateside after a two-year ban from the International Ice Hockey Federation for a failed drug test. Both organizations follow the policies of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), resulting in Russian side AK Bars Kazan voiding Zaripov’s recently signed two-year deal.