After 301 days, the Detroit Red Wings returned to the ice for an intrasquad scrimmage at Little Caesars Arena. This was a chance for the coaching staff and fans to get a look at the new Red Wings on the roster. Evgeny Svechnikov left the scrimmage with an injury after being hit. The Red Wings will host the Carolina Hurricanes to open the 2021 NHL season on January 14th. Turner Elson of the Grand Rapids Griffins also went down with an apparent leg injury.
Svechnikov was drafted by the Red Wings 19th overall in the 2015 NHL entry draft. At the time of the draft, Svechnikov was seen as a crafty winger who is able to possess the puck with dangerous tools. So, why has he not been able to use these tools at the NHL level?
Evgeny Svechnikov Needs Big Year With Red Wings
This is an important year for Svechnikov. At 24-years-old, Evgeny Svechnikov has battled many injuries during his young career. In 2018, the Red Wings’ Twitter account reported that Svechnikov had undergone successful ACL reconstruction. This was after he played one year with the Cape Breton Eagles of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Svechnikov scored 20 goals and added 31 assists in 74 games in his first season of pro hockey.
Svechnikov only had 15 points in his first 36 games with the Griffins after the injury. This was not the most fortunate time for a player to go through a slump. A late season surge from Svechnikov would propel the Griffins to a third-place finish in the AHL.
Head coach of the Red Wings Jeff Blashill said that it is too early to tell whether or not Svechnikov will miss any time due to this injury.
If it is the case that Svechnikov will miss an extended amount of time, it is unfortunate that he will miss another chance to play on the same ice as his younger brother, Andrei Svechnikov. The two Russians had the chance to do this in October of last year. Unfortunately, Blashill made the choice to send Evgeny Svechnikov down to Grand Rapids ahead of the game against the Hurricanes.
At the time Blashill was quoted as saying that “He needs to go down and play and have more than the seven-to-12 minutes that he’s getting up here,” coach Jeff Blashill said in explaining the decision. “He’s a great kid, he works hard, he wants to be a player extremely bad. He works at it. So go down and keep doing a really good job, make sure you are paying attention to detail in your game, and find a way to have an impact shift in and shift out.”
Due to COVID-19, the NHL has re-structured the divisions for the 2021 season. The Red Wings will be in a division with the Hurricanes, which means that the two teams will play each other eight times during the 56-game season. Other teams that will be in the same division as the Red Wings are the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Chicago Blackhawks. The Red Wings may not win the Central Division in 2021, but given the number of moves that general manager Steve Yzerman has made during the offseason and the fact that they always play teams like the Nashville Predators and Blackhawks tough, the team can use this season to propel themselves into a world where they are no longer rebuilding.
Svechnikov only played in four games for the Red Wings during the 2019-2020 season. This is why another injury to Svechnikov would be so unfortunate. The 24-year-old has had a promising training camp, and he was ready to get to work with the team. Depending on the prognosis of Svechnikov’s arm, this could be a make-or-break year for the Russian when it comes to the Red Wings. It remains to be seen whether or not the young players on the Red Wings can propel them to more than the 17 wins the team had in the 2019-2020 season.
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