Evgeny Svechnikov, Maybe an 'Under the Radar' Option at 7th

Created 3 years 74 days ago
by Michael DeNicola

Tags: 2015 NHL Draft Evgeny Svechnikov Philadelphia Flyers
Views: 1712


by Michael DeNicola

Tuesday, June 9th, 2015 --

I won't pretend to know what the hell I'm talking about when it comes to this year's Draft class and prospect rankings. I've done some reading, arguably more than the average spectator, but that doesn't make my opinion on these players better than any average Armchair GM. I've seen prospect profiles, their scouting reports (from numerous pro & amateur sources), and I harbor a general idea of what to expect from the Top 10 or so prospects. 

In short... I don't really have a clue. This blog entry is just me talking out loud, and crowd-sourcing some opinions on Twitter. 

I've noticed a trend with the Flyers these past two or three Entry Drafts; their 1st Round selections have raised eyebrows at the time of their announcement. 

A lot of fans (not all, of course) make predictions based off the rankings submitted by the NHL's Central Scouting Service. But each organization employs its own scouting department; they have an entirely different ranking system; it's what makes each team's engine & vision unique. It's why we--the fans--have been quick to judge some selections as a "reach." 

Take Travis Sanheim in the 2014 Draft, for example. Now, I know he was ranked by some (including Craig Button) in the Top 20, some even the Top 10. But if you were anything like me, a fan who doesn't get to watch any Junior hockey and uses the CSS rankings as his primary source, then Sanheim was a choice out of left field. You were stuck asking "Who?" 

Regardless if you knew who Travis Sanheim was or not, I never read or heard someone predict he'd go as early as 17th Overall. Leading up to the Draft, all I read about were five or six of the same names that ought to be available by the time Hextall took the podium. 

The same can be said about Sam Morin going 11th Overall in 2013. And Scott Laughton going 20th Overall in 2012. These were prospects who were ranked lower, by many sources, than where they were actually taken respectively. In hindsight, I think it's safe to say Flyers fans are happy with these three consecutive decisions. 

Could this mean there'll be a fourth in a row?

Let's not call it a "reach"; instead let's just call it an 'under the radar' selection. Which of these prospects in 2015 could realistically be chosen by the Flyers at 7th Overall, but were originally ranked lower by a variety of scouting services?

Enter Neftegorsk, Russia native... Evgeny Svechnikov.

Another scouting report on the Russian forward, brought to you by EliteProspects.com:

"Incredibly skilled offensive winger. Has a remarkably accurate shot to go along with some magic hands. Could be better defensively, but his game is based around his acute sense of what is happening on the ice in the offensive zone. All-in-all, a deadly player who possesses good size, elite-level skill, and smooth skating. (Curtis Joe, EP 2014)"

Evgeny is ranked by scouting services like so:

  • Ranked 17th by Hockeyprospect.com
  • Ranked 18th by ISS Hockey
  • Ranked 16th by Future Considerations
  • Ranked 23rd by McKeen's Hockey
  • Ranked 17th by NHL Central Scouting

Just from those rankings alone, Evgeny is projected to go somewhere around 18th, 19th Overall. But we're missing a key element here... we have no idea how the Flyers value this kid. They surely have him ranked, but where? Could he possibly be selected more than ten spots before he was projected to go? Charlie O'Connor, hockey columnist for The Hockey Guys and Broad Street Hockey, and a hockey fan whose opinion I value a lot, seems to be high on Svechnikov.

Evgeny turns 19-years-old this Halloween, and in his first season with the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles, he averaged more points per game (1.42/Gm) than any of his teammates. He had the least amount of games-played (55) among the Top 27 leaders in the QMJHL, yet still finished the regular season 22nd in points. The only other rookie who finished the season with more points was Dmytro Timashov, 90-points, but played in eleven more games than Evgeny. Based on his Points/Game pace, one could argue that Svechnikov would have led all QMJHL rookies in points had he skated in more contests. 

Okay, so I'm not saying the Flyers will likely select Evgeny at 7th Overall. But we should not eliminate it as a possibility, or any other strong prospect ranked outside the Top 10 - 15 because, frankly, it's not unprecedented. 

The Flyers will probably see players like Crouse, Zacha, Rantanen, Barzal, Meier, Provorov and Werenski available by the time Hextall takes the stage. These are the names we expect, and one of these names may likely be called by our General Manager. 

But in all honesty, outside the silenced walls of the Flyers headquarters... who can say they're absolutely sure?

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