Game examples attached at end of article*
While creating a scouting profile for Fyodor Svechkov it becomes clear as to why Nashville took a swing on a Russian forward with the 19th pick of the 2021 NHL draft. In my viewings, I watched him play both at the recent U18 tournament in Texas, and against men in the KHL for SKA St. Petersburg. He possesses skills that will translate well as a pro in North America and will continue to naturally develop as he ages and grows into his body.
As far as skating goes, I have seen reports that his skating is below average as he lacks a quick first step and doesn’t jump out at you with his first three strides. However, when watching him skate I see a player with high level edge work and control and a powerful stride. Once at top speed he can skate with pro players, and his skating has been noticeably better from the U18 in May 2021 to the current KHL season. He has great stick skills and makes plays well in small areas. Fyodor uses his body well to shield the puck and has a good range to his control with the puck which allows him to use the space close in to his feet as well as away from his body.
Svechkov seems to have great vision and high hockey IQ. While he has a decent shot, tending to rely more on getting it off quick and in stride rather than pulling it in or loading it up, I feel he makes the most impact offensively as a playmaker. He has a deft touch on small area plays and also puts the puck into good spots for his receiver on longer plays. His ability to move the puck with accuracy to space or directly to a teammate hard and in the receiver’s rhythm is a strength. The way he thinks the game isn’t just noticeable when he or his team has the puck, but stands out just as much when he is defending. He is a player who is tremendously responsible at 5on5 and is also trusted to kill penalties in the KHL at 18 years old which is no small feat. He plays above the puck and stops on failed plays. More often than not he is in the right position defensively and uses his stick well.
What stands out in all viewings is his compete level. He is heavy on his stick and wins puck battles often using his body and creating leverage. He plays physical and finishes his checks with regularity. His compete helps him in the faceoff dot also where he has a strong base and creates a lot of power when taking draws on his strong side. He recently went 9/10 against Severstal Cherepovets in the KHL. While he still needs to get consistency in the dot against men, that will come with experience and strength.
I would say early in his post draft development Fyodor projects better as a centerman in the NHL. With his age group he is used as a centerman but in the KHL plays more as a winger. It is well documented that young players tend to have a reduced role and ice time in the KHL but with his style of play will continue to earn trust and the fact he is already killing penalties and taking faceoffs shows he is on the path to gain more time on ice and further his development. At the NHL level I can see him as a 3rd line Center who can make plays and will be trusted in scenarios without the puck. His playmaking will open up ice and create chances for his teammates. To play higher in the lineup he will have to continue to get stronger and increase his quickness out of the gate. His shot also needs to come off of his stick with more power to beat goalies in the National Hockey League.
Report by Kyle Makaric (@Kyle_Makaric)
In this clip you can see a primary assist in which Fyodor has a good touch in tight and puts the puck in the perfect spot for a quick shot.
On this play you can see his poise and control of the puck. After making a confident move and getting to the middle his initial attempt is blocked. After recovering the puck and pushing it to open ice he finds the open stick of his teammate to score a big goal to tie the game.
Here you can see him skating into space on the breakout, showing his stick and being a good option in the middle of the ice with speed. He stickhandles well into pressure getting a controlled zone entry. He hides the puck well but gets bumped off of it at first. After recovering above the puck and being a responsible F3 he stays available in the middle of the ice and gets a blocked attempt at the net. From there he gets to the loose puck first with a good shoulder check to find his next play and passes to the point quickly. He receives the pass back coming up the wall and uses a subtle fake drop pass before firing the puck on net with traffic.
On this clip he makes a great read as F2 on the forecheck and jumps on it after F1 created separation on the puck. He uses his stick and wins a loose puck battle to gain possession below the goal line. After passing to the point, he makes a great return pass to complete the give and go with the dman jumping in that leads clean look for a shot from the top of the circle.
This clip has a backhand pass reception and then a controlled zone entry before pulling the puck back and making the pass across the offensive zone to a high forward. After his teammate turns the puck over you see Fyodor track back through the middle keeping pressure on the puck carrier and finishing his route to the middle of the ice.
Another won stick battle in the slot where he uses his strength to keep the puck out of a dangerous area.