As part of the 2018 SBN NHL Mock Draft, the Canes Country staff decided to not incur the wrath of our commenters and went with the consensus #2 pick, selecting Andrei Svechnikov from the Barrie Colts. Our draft profile of Svechnikov, the top-ranked North American skater in the draft, is below.
- DOB: 5/26/2000
- Team: Barrie Colts (OHL)
- Right Wing | Shoots: L | 6’3”, 191 pounds
- 2017-18 Stats: 44 GP - 40G, 32A, 72 points, 67 PIM
Due to their tremendous luck in the NHL’s draft lottery, the Carolina Hurricanes have their choice of whoever their front office pegs as the best forward come June after Rasmus Dahlin is selected by Buffalo. In our eyes, that choice comes down to Svechnikov and Filip Zadina, with the young Russian getting the nod both in talent and fit for the Hurricanes.
Taking the path less traveled from Russia to the USHL as a 16-year-old, Svechnikov was the league’s rookie of the year for the 2016-17 season. Taking a step up in competition to the OHL this past year, the dynamic winger didn’t miss a beat, topping out at 1.64 points-per-game as he scored the most goals (40) and piled up the most points (72) among rookies in 2017-18. Making the feat even more impressive was the fact that Svechnikov did so in just 44 games.
When looking to build a goal-scoring winger, Svechnikov would be a hell of a prototype. At 6’3”, he is big enough to win battles both along the boards and at the front of the net, but he also has all the tools to be effective on the perimeter. He has the innate ability that so many top-end goal scorers possess where he can find an extra half second to unload his NHL-ready shot through and around defenders. When paired with his nose for the net and willingness to get to rebounds and deflect pucks, it’s a lethal offensive combo. However, don’t peg him as a one-dimensional player, as he is just as dangerous when creating for his line mates if defenders get caught watching him with the puck on his stick.
Although Svechnikov’s headliner is the arsenal of shot types he possesses, don’t sleep on his skating. He is a dynamic skater with elite balance on his skates, making him not only comfortable handling the puck at top speed, but also a nightmare to knock off of it in possession. On the rush, defenders often have to back off and give Svechnikov space, due to his rare combination of power and skill.
Defensively, Svechnikov has a few of the flaws that many top-end prospects have at the age of 17. However, many of his mistakes come from being over aggressive, so those flaws can be corrected and molded going forward. Many times it’s easier to tone down overexuberance than it is to ramp up the aggressiveness in a prospect.
While the Hurricanes have a number of pass first playmakers on the roster, they lack any real depth in the dynamic goal scoring department behind Jeff Skinner. Thankfully, Svechnikov provides that and more, and will add top-end dynamic skill both at even strength and with the man advantage. With Sebastian Aho taking over the mantle of Carolina’s best offensive player last season and Martin Necas on the horizon, the Canes finally have a young core of forwards that can grow with their young and underrated defensive group after adding Svechnikov to the organization.