MLive’s Ansar Khan has filed the third installment of his “Top 20 Red Wings prospects” series, and I’m gonna be honest here: there’s no way I would have ranked this player as the Wings’ sixth-best prospect:
6. Evgeny Svechnikov, right wing
Drafted: First round 2015 (No. 19)
2019-20 club: Grand Rapids (AHL), Detroit (NHL)
2019-20 stats: Grand Rapids 51 GP, 11 G, 14 A, 25 PT, 61 PM; Detroit 4 GP, 0 G, 0 A, 0 PT, 0 PM
This is a make or break season for Svechnikov with the Red Wings. He has been slow to develop due to inconsistency and having missed the 2018-19 season following ACL surgery. He is healthy now and no longer waiver-exempt, so he will start the season on the NHL roster. He has the size, skating ability and skills to provide offense and must show he can be a consistent scoring threat.
Khan continues; I’m genuinely not sure what to make of Svechnikov’s NHL upside any more, because his ACL injury still hampered him last season.
Is the former first-round draft pick still a top prospect as a goal-scoring, heavy-bodied winger? He might turn out as a scoring winger in a couple of seasons, but between some middling AHL numbers and the fact that he’s in the middle of a career re-start at 23 going on 24 this Halloween, I see Svechnikov projecting as a 3rd-line forward with speed, grit and size that will hopefully generate some offense on the forecheck.
Evgeny is an affable guy who’s easy to root for, but I also believe that he’s not going to develop into the top-six forward that the Wings believed they drafted in 2015.