Telegraphing Svechnikov

One thing Oilers fans should be gearing up for is for the
club to use their second, first round pick. Every year these picks are
made “available” by GMs and we get our hopes up for a trade that doesn’t
happen. Even though the Oil need NHL players today, we should be prepared for
them to add another prospect. We should be ready for Evgeny Svechnikov.

The Oilers seem to be telegraphing a preference for Evgeny
Svechnikov right now. When the Edmonton Oilers media crew was asked to come up with four different mock drafts, all four of Tom Gazzola, Bob Stauffer, Jack Michaels, and Chris Westcott had Svechnikov drafted by the Oilers at 16th Overall. 

Ahem.

Accuse me, if you want, of reading too much into that, but these four are privy to much closer contact with the club than pretty much everyone else and while they can’t always say exactly what they know, we should still listen when they speak in unison.

I think it’s a fair assumption that the Oilers like Svechnikov. Anyone who listens to the OilersNow program with Bob Stauffer also knows that the Russian power forward also apparently knocked it out of the park in the interview process. But best of all, he isn’t a reach at 16th overall.

Svechnikov, a rookie in the QMJHL this year, came over from Russia to get accustomed to the North American game. He played the year with the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles where the bright lights of metropolitan Cape Breton surely wooed him into believing North America and Canada in particular was going to be his future.

In the season before, he played mainly in the MHL, Russia’s Junior league, where he appeared in just 29 games but still produced 14-13-27 with 68 PIMs. He also appeared in three KHL games but they were uneventful in terms of point production. We know that the KHL is not kind to older teenagers, so to a 16 year old we imagine he was never destined to play much.

In this, his first North American season, Svechnikov tallied 55GP, 32-46-78, 70 PIM. He followed that up with 7GP, 1-6-7, 14 PIM in the playoffs. He is described as a deadly offensive player with some work to do in his own end of the rink, but that his skating is stellar even though a leg injury apparently took the wind out of his sails a bit this year. At 6’2″ and 201 pounds he is reported to be built like a Russian tank and plays a rough game. He looks like the combination of skill and size that all teams dream of and the Oilers would be able to bring him along slowly. 

He is a left winger and the Oilers have more than enough of them at the NHL level but their system is barren of skilled size in the forward positions once we get past Leon Draisaitl. Plus he has been known to play a little center. They have nobody who plays with a chip on their shoulder AND scoring pedigree. In many ways he is the kind of player Edmonton is lacking.

The Oilers are definitely telegraphing that they will use the pick, likely on a player like Svechnikov who really fits the style of play that Chiarelli has been on record supporting. Whether that’s gamesmanship or an actual representation of their intentions, we’ll find out. Much the same way Glen Sather wants to build the market for Talbot through whatever sources he can, Chiarelli would want to make other GMs interested in the 16th pick believe that he’s fallen in love with a prospect like Svechnikov.

You see, Svechnikov is a legitimate prospect who is rated to be in that range (18th on McKenzie’s list) but might still actually be there when the Oilers pick. If Chiarelli and the Oilers wanted to get the impression out there that they have their eyes set on someone like Meier or Werenski there’s a great chance that the Oilers wouldn’t have a chance to actually draft him and their position would be weaker. Targeting the Russian power forward, in our scenario where the Oilers are faking more interest in using the pick than they really have, means that their man will likely be there. Thus, any team wanting to pry the pick away from Edmonton will be forced to make them their best offer.

It’s all convoluted, really. The most likely case is that the Oilers have Svechnikov targeted with the 16th pick. If somebody starts to drop on draft day they might find themselves with the opportunity to pick someone they didn’t believe would be available and bypass Svechnikov altogether. 

However, we should be ready to count this young power forward among Edmonton’s prospects before the end of the night on Friday.

      • McNuge

        I did see the line up at the end of the year. and im not too worried about the 2nd or 3rd lines when jultz is a top pairing dman.

        I agree with, you can never have too much at any position! but you sure can have too few at one!

      • a lg dubl dubl

        you realize that just because you said this, Crouse will be drafted and win the cup in his rookie year!

        myself, id rather have Carlo and Samsonov…

      • Semenko27

        Lawson Crouse is HUGE and has a far better defensive mind. Thats why he was plaiying as a 17 year old on a Canadian team that was reallll strong. These Russians never pan out as much as people project. We need some defensive forwards.

          • Quicksilver ballet

            But that’s exactly what the Oilers have been trying to do for 10 yrs now.

            I think Peter firing the scouting staff really shows how much they realize the importance of this draft. I hope they shelf the get better now aspirations till after this draft. Fight like hell to move up from 16 for another shot at an impact player.

        • McNuge

          We have one of the best, if not the best young 2-way forwards in the game, in RNH. Basing any high pick on size, is a HUGE gamble, not to mention a mistake, the OBC regime made on a regular basis. Toews, Datsyuk, RNH, and players of that puck hawk ability, don’t have to be hulking to be dominant forces in the NHL. It’s the way they play and desire they have to get the biscuit back. Being HUGE doesn’t translate to success at this level

  • CMG30

    Just to list the top end forwards. Hall and Svechnikov on the left/ Mcdavid, Nuge and Drai down the middle/Eberle and Yak on the right. Oh my. This is gonna be good in a couple years. Really good.

  • Semenko27

    I’m impressed with your level of critical analysis, amazed that anyone would dig so far into the politics surrounding trade posturing, amused by the whole convoluted process, and embarrassed how interesting I find it.

    Stirring article, I’d say.

  • Just a thought here the nhl has decided to go to 3on3 ot. I’m excited cause we get to see hall,mcdavid,Hopkins,and eberle light it up but other than our two forwards who are we gunna stick on the ice for defense other than Shultz and klefbom as there the only d men we have with good skating and offensive instincts who else are we gunna stick out there nikitin ference? I worried we will get exposed in three on three. Go find us some two way dmen please

  • I prefer Gurianov over Svechnikov , as it’s easier to spell and pronunciate , haha . I feel Denis is far better because of his defensive abilities , 200 foot game , and all around power game . Besides , we need more RWingers than LWingers . We need DENIS THE MENACE .

  • This is what Grant McCagg head scout of Mckeens when asked about Svechnikov

    “I’d be willing to bet that of the 10 or so scouts Bob polls..some had Svechnikov at 15, some had him 18 or so..some had him in the mid or late 20’s. I know of at least one team that wouldn’t draft him in the first because of skating and defensive concerns. All it takes is for a team to like one other guy more..and there is still somewhat of a Russian factor with some teams..easier to say you’ll draft a Russian than to go to the podium and do it. ”

    I’ve read other places he has trouble skating backwards. However he was
    injured during the season and it may have been the problem

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Frankly, I don’t think it matters one iota what the Oilers say or what poses they strike.

    Decisions can only be made by management once they hear the various offers or once they know who is available at #16.

    Personally, I hope we keep the pick and hit a total home run with this pick.

  • Semenko27

    Ha Ha. I thought the exact same thing. Matt, when I watched the mock draft last night. Of course the highlight was Gazolla leaning back on his chair and falling on his ass.

  • seriously tho, we have 16 and 33. id be thrilled to walk away with carlo and samsonov, but 16 is probably too high for either of them and neither will probably be around at 33. is there a trade out there that can land you 2 picks somewhere in the middle?

    lordy this is gonna be a fun draft!

  • Quicksilver ballet

    DO NOT mind the thought of this guy running the left side, Leon in the in the middle Bogdan Yakimov on the right side in a 1-3 years. That is a hell of a lot size and talent. I’m hoping like hell this year Yakimov takes a massive step forward this year in the AHL and scores at around a pt/game.

  • O.C.

    Hmmmm, the Kool-Aid is spiked heavier this year. I upgraded the seats. Pretty clear everyone was renewing. Not much selection.

    The reports of the price of oil affecting ticket renewals was clearly made out of speculation, not fact.

    On topic, I see the reason to trade is not a big selling point to GMs who have immediate needs. It’s hard to sell to fans that you traded a starter for a mid first rounder who may make the lineup in a year or two if all goes well.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Change of subject but saaaaay whaaaaa?!

    Bruce McMcCurdy ‏@BruceMcCurdy 5m5 minutes ago
    long overdue & a perfect opportunity. Rumor is the 1st overall pick unveil the #oilers new 3rd jersey at the #NHLDraft #orange”

    • Quicksilver ballet

      I heard it was sponsored by ben and jerry`s and he`ll also unveil there new flavour by bringing up a bowl of `copper ice`!!!

      but that could just be rumours cuz I heard the same thing last week about mcdonalds unveiling their new burger called the McDavid. i thought that one made more sense..

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Use the 16th and mtl’s 2nd rounder and try moving up to 11th or 12th pick, might snag a good defenseman, the oils need more defensive prospects

  • CMG30

    Not sure if it shows the importance of the draft by firing them if he waited until the work was finished before doing so. No, it was time and it was time to demonstrate that mediocrity and repeated failure was no longer acceptable or tolerated just because you’ve been with the team for X amount of years or because you used to play for the team. Or ‘cuz your dad scouted for the team too.

    People in positions like this get comfortable. Too comfortable. And once should never get too comfortable in such important positions. Your decisions, your recommendations, and your ability (or inability) will often end in a great deal of time and resources invested in whomever it is you’re fighting for.

    I’d almost like to see a final tally of money spent on failed pro signings for the duration of Gare/Semenko/whoever else was on that staff for the 10-15 years they were on the pro scouting staff for just to see the amount of wasted money. Even better if it also included the potential “value” of lost assets in the form of draft picks going the other way to acquire the pro players. It’d be a massive research project, no doubt, but isn’t anyone else curious to see the grand total that imcompetent regime caused?

  • McNuge

    If packaging the 16 + can’t land an OEL or Hamilton mould in skill and age, keep the pick. Build the blue line, we have enough forwards. Hopefully Chabot/ Zboril will still be available, in that order. Roy wouldn’t be a terrible gamble either. Svechnikov has all the tools to be a great player for another team not stacked up front. If Crouse is picked by the oilers anything prior to the 33rd I will lose all confidence in the new management. Still hoping the 33rd can be worked into a talbot or defence deal

  • Quicksilver ballet

    @Randaman

    Ah, I see. You’re a man who enjoys the same articles over and over on the hype of McDavid and how we need better goaltending and defence. Gotcha. I apologize for suggesting an interesting side article to those whom are paid to write articles. By all means, I can’t wait to read the 5 more articles about how we need a goaltender and which ones we might be able to land in the next week just like you.

  • McNuge

    Hmmm! I knew someone else would notice the 4 mock drafts all had Svechy ours at 16!!

    I hope they keep the draft pick and get their man. It would make it worthwhile to tune in the draft part two on Saturday knowing we got a home run with number 1 and a three base hit out of 16.

    Could Blackwood play in Norfolk this year if we get him in the second round?

  • Canadian Hockey Fan

    This guy looks awesome. Hopefully he is still sitting at #16 so the Oilers can pick him. Still can’t get over the Oilers winning the 1st overall pick. It will be nice to see McDavid play in Canada.

    • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

      So many positives with McDavid playing in Canada. Just like the Great One, he will become a household name and put Edm back on the map again in the sports world.

      I have family in the Toronto area whom have been infected with the Centre of the Universe disease as well, they are pissed that the laffs did not get this up and coming Super Star. Laff fans actually believed as does some of the eastern media, that the laffs were entitled to McDavid. I love how this played out for Edmonton and the Oil.

      How can one say no to this guy if we are to keep selection 16 (or if he is still available).

      Fantastic off season and very much looking forward to cheer for a team that actually might present itself as a true blue NHL calibre. The intire Oil fan base and the city as a whole have the arrow pointing upward.

  • I won’t pretend to know all about these prospects. I just want some of them to pan out in a few years. All I care is that they don’t do anything stupid, like wasting picks to trade up in a deep draft…..I would expect that from MacT, not Chiarelli

  • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

    As bad as Flames fans are, try talking to a Leafs fan about McDavid. Every single one of them turned into a veteran psychologist when that gold card came up.

    “He was wearing a blue suit, that was a subtle way of saying he wanted the Leafs to win.”

    “He actually wanted to go to Toronto, it’s his hometown team.”

    “He’d rather have went to Buffalo than Edmonton, it’s closer to home.”

    • Being a lifelong Oilers fan (from AB) living in Ontario now, I love that the Leafs are a mess. It’s just awesome to hear all the excuses and bitterness…..Phaneuf this, Kessel that, Morgan Rielly is the next Duncan Keith (WHAT!)

      • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

        I live in the GTA, I saw a McDavid Oiler jersey hanging in a store the other day and seriously considered buying it and going to a Leafs draft party.

        Anyway, I like Svechnikov. Drafting him is a fine idea.