THE AGEING VETERAN
It was a wild one in Raleigh last night; lots of goals, but one in particular stood out. Andrei Svechnikov scored the first goal of his NHL career. It also proved to be the game winner in an 8 to 5 victory over the New York Rangers.
Svechnikov went into the game with one assist. He added another assist at 5:01 of the third on Lucas Wallmark’s tying goal, and then at 10:44 he hit home and scored his first. It was a nice deflection on a point shot from Justin Faulk following Svechnikov’s battle for position in front of the net. Not necessarily the type of goal Carolina fans would have wanted for his first; however, I doubt anyone will complain. Beyond the two points he got last night - Svechnikov was looking very comfortable on the ice. The rookie was getting excellent chances and was reading the game well. He ended with a plus 2, two shots, and one hit.
The Russian youngster played the game on the fourth line with Martinook and Wallmark, but they looked more like a 2ndline, scoring three of the team’s goals, which is probably why they were given a combined forty-one minutes of ice time. Svechnikov, for his part, clocked in at thirteen minutes and seventeen seconds. Very respectable.
Most people assume - rightfully so - that he likely won’t stay on the fourth line for long, especially if he continues to put points up at the rate he currently is. Of course, it is the beginning of the season, and goals are historically scored at a much higher rate during the first quarter of the season. But number 37 was looking good in last night’s game, and he clearly has the tools to be a high-end offensive threat. Thus far, he is definitely looking like the player Carolina desperately needed when they drafted him.
Once Svecnikov is moved up it will be interesting to see who he lines up with. I would personally like to see what he could do beside Staal, even though the Staal, Foegele, and Williams line is looking good too. I think Svechnikov and Staal could make a lot of things happen. They are both big bodies who play with lots of strength.
Whoever he lines up with, he is going to be an exciting player to watch and track this season. If you managed to pick him up in your fantasy pool, he;s looking like a pretty solid selection so far.