Jewels from the Draft: Evgeny Svechnikov
Can I interest you in a Screaming Eagle?
We've already outlined the three players who are most likely to end up going to the Los Angeles Kings on draft day. If you missed the profiles:
Now, how about a few dark horses?
Who is Evgeny Svechnikov?
Aside from the three players above and the Top 11, he's the only forward to appear in both the Top 20 of the NHL Central Scouting rankings and the International Scouting Services rankings. That is, he's the only other forward whose name wouldn't be at least slightly out of left field at #13.
Consensus Ranking: #16-20
Highest Ranking: #9, Corey Pronman, ESPN
Lowest Ranking: #23, McKeen's Hockey
Why he might be gone before #13
Svechnikov is a rare animal: the boom-or-bust prospect who is also seen as NHL-ready. The boom aspect is his prodigious offensive talent. His production was terrific this year, as he racked up 78 points in just 55 games in the QMJHL. That pace is slightly behind Timo Meier's, but Meier had a top-ten 2014 pick skating with him. The NHL-ready aspect is his 6'2", 200 lb. frame. He's got some flattering comparables, and if Florida or Dallas looks at Svechnikov and sees Vladimir Tarasenko, he could go a bit earlier than anticipated.
Why he might be available at #13
Well, nearly every available mock draft has him going outside the top 12. See?
Why the Kings might draft him
The Kings took a Russian player out of the QMJHL with their first pick in 2013, and Svechnikov's production blew Zykov's pre-draft totals out of the water.
A quick look shows the potential spark Svechnikov could bring to Los Angeles. His ceiling is probably as a top-line right wing, and though it's kind of silly to expect the Kings' top five to remain exactly where they are in 2017 or 2018, he'd look awfully nice in that spot skating with Kopitar and Gaborik. Even if we assume that those players are going to be shuffled around quite a bit, Svechnikov can offer an exciting option after he's worked on the weaker parts of his game.
Why the Kings might pass him up
"The weaker parts of his game?"
A two-way player he is not, from the descriptions. It sounds like he's making an effort to improve his defensive game, though you can never really be sure if that's just the pre-draft optimism talking. Even so, though, there are concerns about both effort and ability in his own end. They can look past the average skating, they can deal with the risk of a guy with only one North American season under his belt, but for the Kings' scouting department, the defensive shortcomings might be the kiss of death.
Also, the Oilers apparently want him with their second first-rounder, and all four of their official site's mock drafters have him going to the Oilers at #16. Talk about a red flag.
For the lazy, your one-sentence summary:
His offensive abilities and NHL size are intriguing, but due to questions about his two-way play, the Kings will probably leave him for a team in the bottom half of the first round.