Photo Credit: Andrey Holmov / HC Lada
Fyodor Svechkov is a 2021 NHL Draft eligible prospect, who hails from Togliatti, Russia. Togliatti is in Western Russia and sits right alongside the Volga River. The young Russian left winger has resided in Togliatti throughout his childhood and played youth hockey for Lada Togliatti.
Last season, 2019-2020, Svechkov spent the majority of his time in the MHL (Russian Junior Hockey), but did get some playing time for the Russian U17 team at various international tournaments. During his 24 games in the MHL, he recorded four goals and two assists.
This season, Svechkov has played in 15 games in the MHL and in 38 games for Lada Togliatti at the VHL level. His time in the VHL has been fruitful as he has tallied five goals and ten assists. In addition to his league play, he was also a pivotal asset to Russia’s U18 IIHF World Championship roster and took home a silver medal.
Throughout the season, he has played alongside a few fellow 2021 NHL Draft eligible prospects including Stanislav Rangayev (over-ager), Dmitri Kostenko and Yegor Savikov.
After the season concluded, SKA St. Petersburg and Lada Togliatti made a monetary transaction for Svechkov. Lada received an undisclosed amount of rubles for Svechkov. Svechkov’s contract was set to expire after the 2022/2023 season and he didn’t have any KHL rights as Lada doesn’t have a KHL affiliation. With the acquisition, Svechkov has joined the premier development system in Russia and is in the same organization as Nikita Chibrikov, Kirill Kirsanov and Yaroslav Askarov (Nashville Predators).
Aside from his contract with Lada and KHL rights, he was selected by the Saint John Sea Dogs in the 2020 CHL Import Draft.
D.O.B – April 5, 2003
Nationality – Russia
Draft Eligibility – 2021
Weight –179 lbs
Position – Left Wing/Center
Handedness – Left
Svechkov’s Style Of Play
Recently, David St-Louis (@DavidSt_Louis) of EliteProspects Rinkside wrote a post in which he took a look at Svechkov and explained whey the Togliatti native might be the best defensive forward in this draft class. It is a great read and provides exceptional detail on his defensive zone play, his forechecking and more. But, what I really enjoyed about St-Louis’ analysis is the portion where he talks about manipulation. We will go into depth on how dominant Svechkov can be defensively, but his ability to draw attackers in with smart puck movement paves the way for his teammates to find open ice. Svechkov is a strategic forward. He knows that if he skates down the left side of the ice and has two attackers keeping an eye on him that he can shift them over towards him when he drives to the net. In the clip below, you will see him draw the attackers in as he appears to crash the net, but he knows that he has a teammate right behind him. With the two attackers following him, his teammate has plenty of open ice and that is the precise moment when Svechkov floats a behind the back pass to his teammate. Now, his teammate has open ice and its just him and the goaltender.
But, it’s not just Svechkov’s route that draws attackers towards him. When stick-handling and using his reach, he will handle the puck similarly to Matthew Beniers and Mavrik Bourque as he will hold the puck out towards the attacker. By positioning the puck towards the attacker, he can lure them in and free open ice up for his teammates. Once he gets an opportunity to complete a pass, he can burn his attackers.
But, it’s not just puck-handling manipulation, sometimes when Svechkov is down low in the corners of the offensive zone, he will widen stance and thus cuts down on his mobility. With that being said, he can draw the attacker in and use good pivots to avoid the back-check. By drawing in the attacker, he has opened up some more ice in medium danger. So, if Svechkov can find a lane to pass through, he has created a lot of open ice for his teammate.
The name of the game is manipulation and Svechkov wins every time.
In terms of Svechkov’s shooting, he does struggle from range, but at the same point, he loves taking shots from range. In particular, he has the most amount of challenges when he is taking shots from distance on the right side of the ice in medium danger. The below shot maps from InStat Hockey accurately paint the picture.
Aside from his struggles in medium danger on the right side, he needs to improve his one-timer tracking and reaction timing. When he gets feed a juicy pass and appears that he wants to rip a one-timer, there are times where he misreads the timing and misses the puck completely. When Svechkov does find success and scores, more than often it comes when he is net front or in high danger.
From a skating perspective, Svechkov deploys a wide extension. He only needs roughly two extensions to get to his top speed. But, it’s not the just extension length that helps propel him, he also is a strong straight-line skater and has the ideal ankle flexion to get him moving. To kick things off when he grabs possession of the puck in his defensive zone, he uses strong crossovers to help navigate him and provide excellent acceleration. While his extension and acceleration are in fine form, he should work on developing his edges. At times, in the defensive zone, when the puck shifts around the zone and he shifts his body to face the puck, he appears to stomp with his skates instead of using his edges to make the quick pivot/turn. If he uses his edges, should he make the turn and he finds a loose puck to chase after, it is far better for him to be in motion than for him to power up and start from a side-by-side skate position. In addition, I have noticed that occasionally when he is deploying his reach, he will accidentally lengthen his extension too far out at the same time and lose possession of the puck.
Earlier, we briefly brought up Svechkov’s robust defensive play, but there is plenty to drool over. First of all, Svechkov is very aggressive to the puck, puts in the same amount effort in every single shift and can be very frustrating for anyone in possession of the puck. With his acceleration and speed, he is electric and will go after the puck no matter the zone.
In the defensive zone, he will do well under duress and can evade the forecheck with ease. He pivots out and wiggles his ways through. He also does a great job putting on the pressure and adjusting to puck movement on the fly. When positioning on the wing, he finds the perfect spot to be in to allow for quick movements when looking to shut down the cycle. If he is defending the rush and trying to keep his opponents in low danger, he deploys tight man on man defense to keep the opponent stuck along the boards.
In terms of his own puck movement and skating up the ice on the rush, sometimes he needs to be more cautious with his decision making. On occasion, he will have an attacker riding alongside him and he will look to deliver a pass through the attackers’ legs, he will misread how close the attacker is to him and cause a turnover. There are also times where he positions the puck too far wide, especially around the perimeter and drags the puck further out to low danger along the boards. If he keeps the puck tighter and closer to his body, he will have far more success and will be able to manufacture scoring chances in medium danger.
Even though there are moments where Svechkov does struggle with puck placement, he will deliver swift flicks of the puck from his backhand to his forehand when facing a defender at the opponent’s blue-line. The swift puck movements allows him to throw the puck towards the boards and swerve the puck around the defender. He also has outstanding reach, which we discussed when we brought up manipulation, but it also allows to him to avoid a sliding defender in a 2-on-1 situation. When he bypasses the sliding defender, he can then deliver a backhand pass or a tape-to-tape feed through the open lane.
Jesse Puljujärvi, Right Wing, Edmonton Oilers
Given Puljujärvi’s excellent puck movement, acceleration and how dangerous he can be down low, it’s hard to find a better comparable for Svechkov. But, Svechkov needs to round out his shot from distance to measure up to Puljujärvi as the Finnish winger is stronger than Svechkov from distance.
Top Nine Winger with Top Six Upside (NHL)
stats from InStat and EliteProspects
Prospect report written by Josh Tessler. If you would like to follow Josh on Twitter, his handle is @JoshTessler_.
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