Andrei Svechnikov, No. 1 in NHL Central Scouting's list of the top North American skaters eligible for the 2018 NHL Draft, was named the Canadian Hockey League Top Prospect of the Year during the awards ceremony as part of the 2018 Memorial Cup in Regina, Saskatchewan, on Saturday.
Svechnikov (6-foot-2, 188 pounds), a right wing, led all rookies in the Ontario Hockey League with 72 points (40 goals, 32 assists) in 44 regular-season games for Barrie. He missed 17 games after injuring his hand Oct. 14. He had 58 points (30 goals, 28 assists) in 34 games after returning from the injury.
Svechnikov is considered by many to be the only other NHL-ready player in the draft after defenseman Rasmus Dahlin of Frolunda in the Swedish Hockey League. Dahlin, the top-ranked player in NHL Central Scouting's final list of International skaters, is expected to be chosen No. 1 by the Buffalo Sabres at American Airlines Center in Dallas on June 22.
"I can tell you, no doubt, he'll play in the NHL next year because all the components are there," said Mark Gandler, Svechnikov's agent. "He's going to be a physical player, won't shy away from contact. He has the speed, the shot, the playmaking ability."
Svechnikov beat out Halifax right wing Filip Zadina and Spokane defenseman Ty Smith for the top prospect honor. Zadina is No. 3 in NHL Central Scouting's final list of North American skaters eligible for the draft, and Smith is No. 14. Svechnikov, who had 24 multipoint games this season, was awarded the OHL Rookie of the Year last month.