Kris Baker of SabresProspects.com has submitted his annual rankings of the top 30 draft-eligible prospects. Check back each day as we prepare for the 2015 NHL Draft at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida on June 26-27.
|(Photo Credit: Getty Images) |#16 - EVGENY SVECHNIKOV
Left Wing, Cape Breton (QMJHL)
6’1.5”, 200 lbs.
A massive forward with a pro-ready offensive arsenal, Svechnikov scored 32 times in 2014-15 to set a Cape Breton franchise record for most goals in a season by a rookie.
The Russian import exhibited a compelling blend of power and skill, validating his stock as a second-tier commodity that a team will scoop up to fortify their top-line wing depth.
Virtually every individual tool you can ask for is present in the 18-year-old offensive package. He has a long, strong skating stride. He displays top-notch puck control that allows him to stickhandle his way through defenders. His shot is quick and accurate.
He thinks the game well enough to beat defenders in a variety of ways, but it’s his speedy net drives and finishing ability that have people talking.
Following a season that saw him appear in three games in KHL, Svechnikov was an immediate difference maker for the Screaming Eagles, dominating the preseason skates and posting points in his first nine regular-season games.
The adjustment to the smaller North American rinks happened rather quickly, with Svechnikov handling the physical style well and adding a solid forechecking element into his game.
The train kept rolling to the very end, with the off-wing sniper scoring 13 goals in the final 16 contests. Along the way, he posted a season-high five points (1+4) in a March contest at Saint John.
Svechnikov is well-liked by his teammates and coaches due to his passion for the game and dedication to the team. He has a reputation as a hard worker in the gym as well, setting the stage for a successful professional career in North America.
For more on all the youngsters in the Sabres pipeline, check out Kris Baker’s website, SabresProspects.com. You can also follow him on Twitter (@SabresProspects) for in-game updates throughout the week on any Buffalo prospects that are in action.