I love the IIHF World Junior Championship (WJC), more than any other tournament in the world. Which is why it was a shame Svechnikov got buried in Russia's lineup due to his age.
Despite not getting a huge role he still managed a point per game pace playing on the 4th line. Playing on the 4th line isn't a knock on Svechnikov though as the Russian coaches tend to lean on older players in the WJC.
The Canes' have a pretty fantastic young core of defenders; I would argue that they are the best in the entire league.
The Carolina Hurricanes are a team that could easily surprise you in 2018-2019. They have a solid core group of young players in Sebastian Aho, Teuvo Teravainen, Haydn Fleury, Jacob Slavin and the newly acquired Dougie Hamilton.
What they lacked, before this most recent draft, was a scoring winger to take the pressure off Aho and Teravainen.
Furthermore, goaltending is an issue for the Canes. Entering the season with Scott Darling backed up by Petr Mrazek is not exactly a winning combo, but I digress.
The Carolina Hurricanes have a few blue chip prospects in center Martin Necas, and power forward Julien Gauthier and stud defenceman Jake Bean. All three guys could easily make the team out of camp, however I expect both Bean and Gauthier to start with Carolina's AHL club the Charlotte Checkers.
Let's talk about Andrei Svechnikov. If the name sounds familiar it's because Andrei is the younger brother of Evgeny Svechnikov, who was drafted by Detroit in 2015.
Andrei stands at 6 foot 2 and over 190 pounds of pure Russian power forward. Drafted 1st overall by the Barrie Colts in the CHL Import Draft, there was no doubt of his talent by any scout, and he lived up to the hype.
After coming over from the USHL Svechnikov was impressive right out of the gate notching 14 points in his first 10 games for the Colts. Despite battling injuries he ended the season with an unbelievable 40 goals and 72 points in 44 games.
Svechnikov is a stat mans dream, his 5v5 goals-per-game average of 0.68 is outrageous, showing that he's not "just a powerplay guy". He has superior puck control and an excellent release on his shot; and because of his massive frame, he can play in the NHL next season and make an impact.
Svechnikov will become one of league’s dominant forwards. He's dominated in every league he's been in, and the underlying statistics show an elite forward who is going to put up a lot of points in the NHL.
Andrei plays a style that is entertaining to watch, he hits people and scores goals, does that sound like any other Russian forward you've ever heard of? Starts with an O.... ends with 'vechkin?? Before you get your pitchforks out, I don't think that's a fair comparison.
What you can expect is someone who's ready to score 25-30 goals and be effective at both 5v5 and on the powerplay immediately. He also helps fill another need on an undersized group of forwards with his physicality, however a lot of scouts were concerned with his discipline. Andrei is also not the most graceful skater and his passing and defensive game isn’t fantastic, but who cares? When you have a guy who can score goals at this clip, comparable to Steven Stamkos in his draft year, you shouldn't care.
The Hurricanes are pretty lucky that their draft ball moved from 11th all the way down to 2nd. Anytime you draft that early you have a real good chance at getting a franchise player and the Cane's did just that.
What's exciting for Canes' fans is they get an elite forward they can instantly plug into their lineup. One who should play alongside Sebastian Aho and put up impressive numbers this season and contend for the Calder trophy.
Don't sleep on this kid; he's the real deal.