Even during uncertain times, the Carolina Hurricanes should pounce on the opportunity to sign Andrei Svechnikov to a contract extension. And it would absolutely behoove the Hurricanes to sign Svechnikov to an extension as soon as humanly possible.
NHL.com’s Tom Gulitti reports that Svechnikov said he’s open to signing a contract extension with the Hurricanes before the 2020-21 season begins. Svechnikov, however, will leave the details to his agent, Mark Gandler.
“I’m open,” Svechnikov said Friday, via Gulitti. “I think my agent is going to do that job and I tell him I don’t want to know anything [until] it’s going to be done. So he’s going to tell me when it’s going to be done and I just don’t want to worry about that.”
Should Svechnikov want to sign a contract extension? Under normal circumstances, probably not. We’ve really only seen the tip of the iceberg (/the lacrosse net during a lacrosse goal?) when it comes to a rising talent. But, after injury scares and amid COVID-19 uncertainty, one couldn’t totally blame Svechnikov if he craved long-term security.
And so the Hurricanes should jump at that opportunity. Let’s examine why.
[NBC 2020 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]
Svechnikov is already a star, and that will become clearer with time
Even at only 20 years old, it’s already clear that Andrei Svechnikov is a star. In case you were going to interject: there’s no need to attach “rising” in front of star.
And, the more the Hurricanes wait, the more likely it will be clear that Svechnikov is a superstar.
Just two years into his career, Svechnikov already flies off of many charts. Looking at this Evolving Hockey’s Goals Against Replacement chart, Svechnikov ranked in the top 30 in 2019-20, in between Sean Couturier and Nikita Kucherov. As far as the Hurricanes go, only Jaccob Slavin ranked higher:
You simply don’t come across many stars as polished as Svechnikov has been basically since day one.
Consider how well Svechnikov compares to teammate Sebastian Aho on Bill Comeau’s SKATR charts. (Svechnikov compares well to other stars, including Art Ross winner Leon Draisaitl.)
So far, Svechnikov aced every test, and is only likely to add accolades going forward.
Hurricanes could save a lot of money by signing Svechnikov to a contract extension ASAP
Look, I’ve been beating the “give Svechnikov more ice time” drum since he was a rookie, but perhaps the indirect benefit might be keeping costs down when it comes to re-signing him? At least, that’s a possibility if the Hurricanes decide to be proactive.
When you look at Svechnikov’s box score numbers (24 goals, 61 points in 68 games), you’d probably be impressed, but not blown away. Consider that Svechnikov managed almost a point-per-game despite averaging 16:44 minute per game, which landed him outside the top-100 for NHL forwards this season, though.
Health and worldwide pandemic permitting, Rod Brind’Amour probably has no other choice but to unleash Svechnikov in 2020-21. So, for all of the attention Svechnikov received for lacrosse-style goals, he could really break through as a mainstream star if he’s finally healthy during a playoff run.
Svechnikov seemingly avoids injury scare
Again, Svechnikov hasn’t enjoyed the greatest luck. His 2018-19 playoff run ended at Alex Ovechkin‘s knuckles, and he dealt with a serious injury scare getting tangled up with Zdeno Chara during the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs. With Svechnikov indicating that he avoided anything too major — he even believes he could’ve played in the Second Round — it’s now reasonable to picture a healthy start to 2020-21.
“I would say so, I would play, you know,” Svechnikov said, via Luke DeCock of The Charlotte Observer. “I feel almost 100 percent.”
Even if Hurricanes owner Tom Dundon is still feeling the sting from that AAF investment, the Hurricanes would still be wise to sign Svechnikov to an extension as soon as possible. Chances are, they’ll be happy they did. If not, Svechnikov could turn a lot of heads (and fatten his wallet) with a big contract year.
More from PHT on free agency, teams approaching the offseason:
James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.