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Draft Profile: Andrei Svechnikov

Russian winger is top-ranked North American skater

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes /

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Andrei Svechnikov is the NHL Central Scouting Service's top-ranked North American skater, and he's widely projected to be the No. 2 pick in the 2018 NHL Draft.

It's easy to see why.

The 6-foot-2, 192-pound Russian winger is an offensive force. Svechnikov scored 40 goals in 44 games for the Barrie Colts of the Ontario Hockey League and earned OHL Rookie of the Year and CHL Top Prospect of the Year honors after totaling 72 points in the 2017-18 season.

"He's a complete player," Director of Amateur Scouting Tony MacDonald said. "He can play the power game. He can play the finesse game. He's big and strong and has skill."

"I look forward to being drafted," Svechnikov said in an early June interview in Raleigh. "It's pretty exciting. The next step is to prepare for the next season, and I'll give it my best shot."

Tweet from @NHLCanes: Andrei Svechnikov is in town.

Svechnikov, a left-shooting right winger, was born in Barnaul, Russia and moved to North America to play for the Muskegon Lumberjacks of the USHL in the 2016-17 season. There, Andrei was not even 50 miles from his brother, Evgeny, a first-round pick of the Detroit Red Wings who was playing for the Grand Rapids Griffins of the AHL.

"He helped me a lot. He taught me how to play the game in any situation," Svechnikov said. "It was easy for me to have him here."

Svechnikov posted 29 goals and 58 points in 48 games with Muskegon and was crowned USHL Rookie of the Year before making the transition to Barrie for his draft season. He scored two goals on three shots in his OHL debut and totaled 10 goals and 14 points in his first nine games. Despite then being sidelined for two months by a hand injury and missing a handful of games while participating in World Juniors, Svechnikov still paced OHL rookies in points - and it wasn't even close - and scored at a .91 goals-per-game clip, top amongst all skaters in the CHL.

"It could have been more if I played more games," Svechnikov said of his already high goal totals. "[I am a] goal scorer."

"That's a pretty significant output regardless of what kind of team you're on," MacDonald said. "He gives you a little bit of everything."

Svechnikov has been just as dominant on the international stage. At just barely 16 years of age, he scored two goals in five games with the Russian national team at the IIHF U-18 World Championship. At the same tournament the following year, Svechnikov helped the Russians capture a bronze medal with nine points (4g, 5a) in seven games.

As a 17-year-old participating in the 2018 World Junior Championship, Svechnikov was underutilized by Team Russia, but he still produced a point-per-game pace with a team-high five assists in five games.

"They had an older team with older players, and Svechnikov didn't get the ice time he should have," MacDonald said.

Even as an offensive talent, Svechnikov doesn't shy away from a physical game. Playing on the smaller ice in North America for the last two seasons has allowed him to adapt his game and thrive.

"The hockey is more physical. Smaller ice. Here, you have more chances to score and a more physical game," Svechnikov said. "I like to play a physical game."

"He plays a 200-foot game," MacDonald said. "He understands how to play with and without the puck."

By all accounts, Svechnikov is the complete package. He's a constant scoring threat. He's lethal with the puck. He's big. He's strong. He's tough. He plays the game with speed. And he just turned 18 years old in late March.

Svechnikov won't have to wait long to hear his name called on June 22 in Dallas. Beyond that, his NHL debut likely won't be far off, either.

"I want to play so bad. To start my pro career will be fun," he said. "I will be very excited. It's my dream to play in the NHL. The first game, I will be very happy."

"I think he's probably one of the most complete players we've seen in a few years," MacDonald said. "He's a guy who is capable of being an impact player for your franchise for a lot of years."

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