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About Last Season: Andrei Svechnikov Performance Review and Grade

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Svechnikov’s highlight-reel goals put him on the map, but his complete offensive game is what will keep him there.

Carolina Hurricanes v Montreal Canadiens Photo by Francois Lacasse/NHLI via Getty Images

Andrei Svechnikov 2019-20 By the Numbers

  • Age: 20
  • NHL Seasons: 2
  • Games Played: 68
  • Scoring: 24 goals, 37 assists, 61 points
  • Average TOI: 13:46 ES, 0:01 PK, 2:57 PP (16:44 total)
  • 5-on-5 (score and venue adjusted): 57.04 CF%, 56.01 GF%, 56.77 xGF%, 56.77 HDCF%, 53.55 oZS%
  • Contract: 1 year left on ELC, 925k AAV (RFA following 2020-21 season)

Andrei Svechnikov’s rookie campaign was an impressive, though largely unspectacular, display of what his future could hold.

His second season saw him come into form as a dynamic, game-breaking star on the rise - a player that a franchise builds around and features at the forefront of everything they do over the long-term.

Through 11 games, Svechnikov had 10 points, most of which came by way of his newly-discovered playmaking ability at the NHL level, but new heights were reached on October 29.

Down 1-0 in the third period against the Calgary Flames, the Hurricanes desperately needed an answer for goalie David Rittich.

Enter Svech.

In the scope of the game, that goal totally changed the tide, and he came through once more on a power play to put the Hurricanes in front, single-handedly erasing the deficit and making the difference in a 2-1 game.

In the scope of the sport, as a whole, the lacrosse goal was his star moment that put him on everyone’s radar. And of course, he did it again north of the border less than two months later in Carolina’s win in Winnipeg on December 17.

His highlight-reel goals are part of what has launched him onto the international NHL landscape, but what’s going to keep him there is his complete offensive game that continues to grow by the game.

At age 19, Svechnikov matched his rookie assist total of 17 in just 25 games - 57 fewer games than his full 82-game rookie year. At the time of the season’s suspension, he had 37 total assists in 68 games.

His playmaking ability was part of what made the leap from year one to year two feel so astronomical. He went from being relied upon to be his line’s only real goal-scoring threat at even strength to seeing consistent ice time with Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen. Those players did a lot in helping him turn into the complete offensive force that he became in his sophomore season.

Another player to thank for that is Dougie Hamilton.

Hamilton’s connection with Svechnikov off of the ice has been well-documented since the early stages of the 2018-19 season, and now the on-ice connection has been on full display since the early days of the duo’s second season in Raleigh.

For any star player, consistency is a major part of the equation. In a 21-game stretch from Oct. 26 to Dec. 10, Svechnikov racked up 26 points and found his name on the scoresheet in all but four of those games. On February 2, he kicked off a career-high 12-game point streak. Those are two long stretches of sustained production that, in many cases, made the difference as the Hurricanes established themselves as legitimate contenders in the Eastern Conference.

The confidence instilled in him by the coaching staff and his teammates was evident in how freely he played the game. As a rookie, it felt like he was only just starting to realize how dominant he could be at this level, so the anticipation lied in him building the confidence that would, in turn, fast-track his transformation into the player that the Canes knew they were getting at second overall in 2018.

I don’t think anyone classified Svechnikov as a one-tool player, but his vision with the puck truly shined through when he was given more in the way of opportunity by Rod Brind’Amour and the Carolina coaching staff. That was especially evident on the man advantage, where he blossomed into a real force as teams never knew when he was going to shoot the puck or make a high-level pass.

Svechnikov’s growing confidence was also on display in his physical play. He played more like a full-blown power forward in year two, and combining that with his all-world skill set makes him, in many ways, almost impossible to stop.

As impressive as all of that is, perhaps the most impressive development in Svechnikov’s game is his ability to make big plays in big moments.

You could make the argument that his clutch, game-deciding plays in year two are a result of the increased ice time he was given (+2:05 average TOI from year one to year two), but he earned the right to be on the ice through his play.

His possession metrics are also outstanding. This season, he finished second among Carolina forwards in corsi share and expected goals share. He was also third in high-danger corsi-for.

There are lots of things you can say about Svechnikov, who turned 20 in March. He has one of the most dangerous shots in the league. He has developed into a multi-faceted offensive star. He can physically dominate his opponents. He isn’t afraid of the high-pressure moments - in fact, that’s what he plays for.

He is also just getting started. He has yet to play an NHL game in his twenties. All of his accomplishments to this point are as a teenager. That’s wild to think about, and it should be scary to think about for other teams around the league.

The next step in Svechnikov’s development will likely involve further increases in his ice time, because he still only sees 16:44 per game at this point in the 2019-20 season. There’s more for him to give in his own end of the ice, as well, because while his special talent is also on display in the defensive zone, he’s not immune to trying to do too much when it comes to breaking the puck out of his own zone or failing to track players through the neutral zone.

That also brings us back to the point that he just turned 20.

Andrei Svechnikov’s development has been special to watch to this point, and that will continue to be the case as his career progresses.

Don’t look now, but his entry-level contract is set to expire after the 2020-21 season, meaning that a monster payday could be in his very near future. Only time will tell us how Tom Dundon and Don Waddell decide to go about extending this player, but one thing is already very clear - he is a cornerstone player for the organization that won’t be going anywhere any time soon.

Poll

How would you grade Andrei Svechnikov’s 2019-20 season?

This poll is closed

  • 89%
    A - Outstanding Performance
    (141 votes)
  • 10%
    B - Above Average Performance
    (16 votes)
  • 0%
    C - Average Performance
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    D - Below Average Performance
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    F - Significantly Below Average Performance
    (0 votes)
157 votes total Vote Now