Born: October 31, 1996 Age: 18 Hometown: Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, Russia Height: 6’2’’ Weight: 200 Position: LW Team: Cape Breton (QMJHL) CSS Rank: 17th among North American Skaters
It’s only fitting that Evgeny Svechnikov was born on Halloween, because he’s a nightmare for opponents playing on a team with “scream” in the name.
Svechnikov finished third on the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles in scoring with 78 points (32-46-78) in just 55 games. That was good for second among all QMJHL rookies. It was an easy jump to North America for the Russian native. It was a jump he felt he’d have to make to achieve his career goals.
“First of all, I just wanted to make my dream of playing in the NHL (come true),” said Svechnikov. “I think I’ve already played in Cape Breton one season and it’s my first step. I just want to keep going and just worry about what is in front of me. I just want to make my dream, that’s all I want here. That’s why I wanted to come here.”
Svechnikov knows what it takes to get where he wants to be.
"I want to make an NHL team and if I have to play more in the Canadian Hockey League or the American Hockey League, it doesn't matter," he told NHL.com. "I was able to bring a few things I learned in Russia to the North American game but it's a different game here. The simple things worked here but not everything."
He’s considered a power forward that can beat you physically, but has enough skill and creativity offensively to beat defenders 1-on-1. The winger has the size, strength and skill to compete against a variety of opponents.
“He proved to be a very skilled skater, strong on the puck and a player capable of doing a lot of things well,” said NHL Central Scouting’s Troy Dumville. “He plays a physical game, doesn’t back away, is aggressive on the forecheck and finishes checks.”
Already a physical presence, having clearly put in the time in the weight room this past season, Svechnikov aims to be even bigger and stronger moving forward.
“I think, obviously, I need to be stronger as a hockey player and be more physical and be quicker,” he said. “I have lots of stuff I have to improve. That’s mostly what I need to improve.”
Svechnikov says the Oilers, who hold the 16th overall pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, have talked to him on numerous occasions including the Scouting Combine and during the regular season. Svechnikov is NHL Central Scouting’s 17th-ranked North American skater.
WHAT THEY'RE SAYING
Curtis Joe of Elite Prospects: “Incredibly skilled offensive winger. Has remarkably accurate shot to go along with some magic hands. Could be better defensively, but his game is based around his acute sense of what is happening on the ice in the offensive zone. All-in-all, a deadly player who possesses good size, elite-level skill and smooth skating.”
Future Considerations: “Svechnikov is a talented power forward with an attractive blend of size and skill. He has great puck control, which allows him to use his reach to protect the puck while sill making plays in motion. Svechnikov is an excellent skater with a long and efficient stride. He edges very nicely and his weight transfer is textbook. All this allows him to change directions very rapidly and he can juke defenders out of position with ease. Great balance and strong on his feet; hard to knock off the puck and hard to poke check. He is extremely athletic.”
A scout, according to The Hockey News: “He’s like a Rick Nash type. He can score, he can make plays, he loves those 1-on-1 situations where he can stickhandle and get position on a guy. Really good release.”
NHL Director of Central Scouting Dan Marr: “He possesses high-end puck skills especially when in traffic, is always in the right positions to be open or receive a pass. He was a presence on the ice and was always around the net for scoring opportunities. He works and competes with his skill and assets."