It is time for the Detroit Red Wings to allow forward Evgeny Svechnikov to take his lumps at the NHL level.
The Detroit Red Wings spent the 19th overall pick in the 2015 NHL Entry Level Draft on Russian forward Evgeny Svechnikov. Unfortunately, the organization that has a rich history of landing NHL players of Russian dissent over the years may have struck out when it comes to Svechnikov.
Oddly enough, it was the 2018 NHL Draft; the franchise needed some lottery luck to land a top-two pick and either win the Rasmus Dahlin sweepstakes or Andrei Svechnikov. Andrei, the younger brother of Evgeny, has played remarkably for the Carolina Hurricanes over his first two seasons. Red Wings fans wish the same could be said for Evgeny.
After recording back-to-back 32 goal seasons with Cape Breton of the QMJHL during his junior hockey days, the Red Wings opted to select Svechnikov in the first round. Things started nicely during his first professional season playing with the Grand Rapid Griffins, the Red Wings American Hockey League affiliate.
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Svechnikov recorded 20 goals and added 31 assists with the Griffins, just what the doctor ordered for the Red Wings, who at the time needed to shore up some depth scoring. The same can still be said for the organization today.
That early production at the AHL level prompted the organization to give Svechnikov a shot at the NHL level; he’d play a pair of games but fail to record a point. The following season the Red Wings wanted to give their first-round pick a look allowing him to play 14 games on his way to recording two goals and two assists.
He’d spend the majority of the season in Grand Rapids but seemed to struggle mightily after that stellar first season. Svechnikov would only record a mere 23 points in 57 games, but more concerning, the scoring forward only notched seven goals. Unfortunately more bad news would follow. The next season would be a write-off due to a knee injury that required season-ending surgery before the start of the regular season.
Svechnikov returned this past season, a contract year for the young forward, and scored 11 goals and added 14 assists in his return. He failed to record a point in four NHL games, but the Detroit Red Wings recently re-signed Svechnikov to a one-year deal worth just $874,000.
It may be the last chance Svechnikov will receive from the Detroit Red Wings organization, and the rebuilding team should plug Evgeny in on the teams’ third line to start the season and let him try and work through any bumps in the road at the NHL level.
The Red Wings are rebuilding; why do they feel the need to continue to play players like Justin Abdelkader, Christoffer Ehn, Adam Erne, Brendan Perlini, and Frans Nielsen rather than allowing a prospect more than four games a season to perform.
Svechnikov doesn’t seem to be a player that excels looking over his shoulder as some youthful players do, he needs to be coddled some, and Detroit should elect to run him out there for a 20-game stretch, and if he fails to perform, then send him back to Grand Rapids and perhaps part ways with him at the end of next season.
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The soon to be 24-year old forward needs more than these four-game stints to prove he belongs. Four games doesn’t allow a young player with a stomach full of butterflies enough time to get comfortable at the NHL level under the bright lights.