For all the talk Lawson Crouse is getting as a top 10 selection in this year’s draft, there’s another winger in the CHL that is also big…but scores way more. His name is Evgeni Svechnikov. And he’s really good.
That’s kind of the issue – he’s most likely too good to fall to the Leafs at 24, but on the off chance he does – and because I have been a huge supporter of his this year – we felt it was important to give him some coverage.
Standing at 6’2, and weighing right around 200 pounds, Svechnikov came over from the KHL to play for Cape Breton in the QMJHL last year, notching 78 points (32 goals) in 55 games. He was first in the Q in estimated points/60 as per CHLStats. That’s…really good.
Oh, and while being listed as a left winger, Svechnikov spent some time as a centre in the latter half of the season. That would make him even more valuable as a pick.
According to ESPN’s Corey Pronman who has him ranked 9th, Svechnikov’s “upside is top-end, as you don’t often see his combination of size, puck skills and offensive IQ.”
Future Considerations has him ranked 16th and say “he seems destined for a top line role at the NHL level and has the potential to be a dominant and dynamic star.”
McKeen’s have the Leafs drafting him at 24 in their mock (I would die of happiness if this happened), but have him ranked 23. They say he “possesses the size and impressive arsenal of skills that every team is looking for on the wing.”
Does he fit in the Leafs radar?
In terms of him being a skilled player that also happens to be big? Yes. But in terms of where the Leafs are picking, it’s hard to say – as mentioned above, he is ranked all over the place. He is likely gone before 24, as it is tough to imagine that many teams passing on a big, skilled winger.
But there is something I haven’t mentioned about him that could affect his draft stock…he’s Russian. I know, you had no idea. And even though he has already come to Canada to play hockey, teams are scared of Russians. It’s weird. One thing that may work in his favour is that he played on Team Cherry at the prospects game this year. That’s right, Team Cherry had a Russian.
Oh and he has a really early birthday – if you care about that sort of thing.
But these are two problems that the Leafs would love to have at 24. If Svechnikov is available at that spot, they’d be insane not to take him. He’d be a fantastic get in the latter half of the first round.