Andrei Svechnikov: 2018-2019 By The Numbers
- Age: 19
- NHL Seasons: 1
- Games Played: 82
- Scoring: 20 goals, 17 assists, 37 points
- Ice Time: 14:39 all situations, 12:43 ES, 1:55 PP, 0:01 PK
- 5 on 5 Stats: 56.4% CF, 50.0% GF
- Contract: Signed through 2020-21 on entry-level contract with $0.925m AAV
Making the Grade
Victor Hedman, Drew Doughty, Evgeni Malkin, Jack Eichel, Tyler Seguin, Patrik Laine, Gabriel Landeskog - these are the peers against who Andrei Svechnikov will draw comparisons throughout his career. Fair or not, expectations are sky high for any player selected 2nd overall in the 2018 NHL draft. With those expectations in mind, the 2018-19 season can be viewed as a solid start on a long journey.
Svechnikov played in all 82 regular season games and 9 of the Hurricanes’ 15 playoff games. Most of his season was spent on the third line where he was often paired with Jordan Martinook and Lucas Wallmark. While somewhat unexpected for a player of his skill level, the third line duty seemed to be part of a broader strategy to work Svechnikov into his role slowly. In addition to his youth - he was the first player born in the 2000s to score a goal in the NHL - early season issues with penalties (offensive zone stick infractions in particular) made it difficult for the coaching staff to give him much in the way of top six minutes.
What was more, Micheal Ferland’s early season success meant there was no reason to rush Svechnikov into the top two lines. As the season progressed - and Ferland’s production dropped off - Svechnikov found his way into the top six with greater regularity. With Ferland likely on his way out of Raleigh this summer via free agency, a regular spot in the top six seems a given for Svechnikov next year.
His 20 goals (fourth on the team) are all the more impressive when you consider that none came on the power play (only Sebastian Aho had more even strength goals with 23). Although he was a constant on the Canes’ 2nd unit, a promotion to the top unit would be welcome next season. His vision, perhaps his best attribute at this stage in his career, along with a spontaneity that was sometimes lacking in his teammates would shake up a top power play unit that crashed and burned in the playoffs.
In terms of intangibles, all indications are that he is well-liked by his teammates and a hard-worker off the ice. Along with his buddies Dougie Hamilton and Warren Foegele, it was Svechnikov who was one of the Canes’ best players in the first half of the series against the Capitals. He scored the Canes’ only two goals in game one including the beauty below:
Great play(s) by rookie Andrei Svechnikov. (1) comes through neutral zone with speed, protect pucks, drives to net. (2) No idea how Wallmark saw Svechnikov but love the anticipation & way he reads the play to get into high slot for goal. #NHLPlayoffs #StanleyCup #CARvsWSH pic.twitter.com/4zwexxM6is— JJ Santagata (@santageetee) April 12, 2019
It was his fight with Alex Ovechkin in game three, however detrimental to his own health, which was the turning point in the series. The Canes won that game, and three of the next four, to eliminate the Caps in seven.
Looking forward to next year, an increase in ice time should allow Svechnikov to make a run towards 30 goals if he remains healthy. After a thrilling end to the 2018-19 season, Svechnikov is another reason why Canes fans should be excited about what the 2019-20 season will bring.
How do you grade Andrei Svechnikov’s 2018-19 season?
This poll is closed
A - Outstanding performance
B - Above average performance
C - Average performance
D - Below average performance
F - Significantly below average performance