Red Wings forward Evgeny Svechnikov seems to have been around forever, but the 22-year-old is firmly pressing the “reset” button on his career after suffering an ACL injury that wiped out his 2018-2019 season.
Svechnikov spoke with The Athletic’s Max Bultman while attending the Power Edge Pro camp in Plymouth, and the one-time top prospect discussed his desire to reclaim his potential on a crowded Wings forward corps:
“It’s still healing, it’s still a process,” Svechnikov said. “So, I’m still in the process, and I’m doing pretty good skating. … It maybe looks good, but it doesn’t feel (as good) as it looks. But I feel comfortable. Just gets tired and sore at the end. But it’s coming along.”
He still has about four weeks to help it along even further, valuable time in his pursuit of a roster spot come opening night. Some of that is beyond his control, but this is all the time he has left to improve his chances.
Svechnikov said he has met new general manager Steve Yzerman only briefly, and that he mainly just wanted to know about the knee. But he’s not concerning himself much with what exactly the team’s brass is expecting or looking for from him when Traverse City arrives. His goals are singular.
“I have no idea,” he said. “I don’t really care what they’re looking at (with) me, you can put it that way. Because I just want to go out there and take my spot. That’s really it. Doesn’t matter last year if I was hurt or (not). And I don’t really expect, from them, anything. Obviously they want to expect from me, they want to see what it’s like, but at the same time they know I was injured. To me, it doesn’t matter. I just want to go out there and take my spot and make the team.”
Continued (paywall); my best guess is that Svechnikov will have to head to Grand Rapids this fall and earn his way back into the Red Wings’ lineup. He’s young enough and talented enough to at least provide some jam as a forechecking bottom-six forward; whether he is able to press his ceiling higher is up to Svech.