The Grand Rapids Press’s Peter J. Wallner posits the theory that Evgeny Svechnikov may be the player upon which the Grand Rapids Griffins can rely to provide the scoring lost by Matt Lorito (knee) and Tyler Bertuzzi’s absences from the Griffins’ lineup:
A year ago, Bertuzzi finished the regular season with points in one of his final four games. That came after he battled an ankle injury that cut short his time with the Red Wings as he had a decent 12 goals and 37 points in 48 regular-season games.
Once the playoffs rolled around, however, Bertuzzi took off with two goals and four points in three games in the opening-round series against Milwaukee. He became the Griffins’ face of the postseason run as the Griffins topped Syracuse in six games to win the Calder Cup Trophy. Bertuzzi finished with nine goals and 19 points in 19 games.
Svechnikov played a significant role, too, in his first AHL postseason with five goals and 12 points. He also had four points in the opening-round series.
Now, with five games back with the Griffins, Svechnikov liked what he did in two games at Texas and San Antonio but not the regular-season finale at home against Cleveland.
“At Texas and San Antonio, I think those games went well and I did my best,” he said. “But I wasn’t happy with the way I played last game. That was not acceptable.”
His scoring hasn’t met expectations, but other parts of his game have. The 6-foot-3, 208-pound Svechnikov is stronger, wins most of the puck battles in the corners and is gaining net-front presence.
“I think anyone who comes down from the National Hockey League has that inner confidence,” Nelson said. “And it also gives him some hunger to know what he has to do to go up there in the future.”