Get to know a draft pick — Evgeny Svechnikov

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Like we’ve done in the past, we’re profiling top prospects who may hear their names called Friday in the first round of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. But this year, something new — we’re featuring special guest analysis from former Minnesota Wild scout Mark Seidel, who currently serves as the president of North American Central Scouting.

Evgeny Svechnikov (C/LW)

Height: 6’2 Weight: 199 Shoots: Left

Team: Cape Breton Screaming Eagles (QMJHL)

Country: Russia

NHL Central Scouting ranking: No. 17 among North American Skaters

What kind of player is he?

Evgeny Svechnikov spent the season in North America for the explicit reason of proving that he can adapt enough to become an NHL player.

There’s a lot to like about the young forward’s game, as he combines above-average size with a dangerous shot, solid skating ability and serious offensive instincts.

All of that showed in a nice season in the QMJHL, as he was second on the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles (great name) with 32 goals and 78 points in 55 games. The 18-year-old also managed seven points in as many QMJHL playoff games and is seasoned in international play to boot.

Scouts seem to believe that his time in North America is already paying off, as his defensive work seemed to improve during the second half of the 2014-15 season, as you may notice from this NHL.com profile.

Svechnikov’s final Central Scouting grade rose to 17th among North American skaters after a midterm mark of 21, so it seems like he’s climbing in the eyes of many.

Seidel says:

“Svechnikov may give some teams pause because of his Russian citizenship, but his upside should convince them he’s worth the risk. We’ve always thought he’d be more useful playing center and, halfway through Cape Breton’s 2014-15 season, that change was made — with phenomenal results. Svechnikov creates offense with his soft hands, size and strength and when his team doesn’t have the puck, he’s shown a commitment to making sure it stays out of his net. He had an excellent year with the Screaming Eagles and always maintained he came to North America to get ready for the NHL. That should make the team that selects him quite happy as big, offensive centers with an ability to defend are hard to find.”

NHL comparable: Alex Killorn

For more 2015 NHL Draft profiles, click here.