Reigning OHL Rookie of Year Andrei Svechnikov Picked 2nd by Hurricanes

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJune 23, 2018

PLYMOUTH, MI - FEBRUARY 16: Andrei Svechnikov #7 of the Russian Nationals skates up ice against the USA Nationals during the 2018 Under-18 Five Nations Tournament game at USA Hockey Arena on February 16, 2018 in Plymouth, Michigan. USA defeated Russia 5-4. (Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images)*** Local Caption *** Andrei Svechnikov
Dave Reginek/Getty Images

Russian winger Andrei Svechnikov parlayed a remarkable rookie season in the OHL into becoming the No. 2 overall pick in the 2018 NHL draft by the Carolina Hurricanes in Dallas on Friday.

Twitter was ablaze with reaction after Svechnikov came off the board:

Svechnikov entered the conversation as a potential top pick in 2017-18 when he took the OHL by storm in his debut season with the Barrie Colts.

In just 44 regular-season games, Svechnikov scored 40 times and added 32 assists for 72 points. He also had a plus-26 rating, and his 67 penalty minutes suggest he isn't afraid to get physical either.

Svechnikov showed he could produce on the big stage as well with five goals and six assists in eight playoff contests.

The 6'2", 186-pound forward made significant strides last season after putting up 29 goals and 29 assists in 48 games for the USHL's Muskegon Lumberjacks in 2016-17.

Additionally, Svechnikov has been a stud against the world's best players in international competition in recent years.

He recorded eight points in four games at the 2016 U17 World Championships and nine points in seven games at the 2017 U18 World Championships. Russia won bronze in each of those tournaments.

Although Russia struggled as a team at the 2018 World Junior Championships, Svechnikov was a bright spot with five assists in five games.

Although defenseman Rasmus Dahlin was widely considered the best all-around prospect entering the draft, Svechnikov received his fair share of hype as well.

According to NHL.com's Mike G. MorrealeKarl Stewart of NHL Central Scouting said in February that Svechnikov was already skilled and prepared enough to play in the NHL:

"I think if there's one (Canadian Hockey League) player right now who can step into an NHL lineup it would probably be [Svechnikov]. He's big and his shot is so powerful. He just drops the shoulder and turns it on; you can't stop him. His shot bides him so much time and space that defenders have to play up on him, but he has the skill to dance around you. He's a magician on the half-wall on the power play."

While Svechnikov isn't a lock to play in the NHL in 2018-19, there isn't much left for him to prove in the OHL.

Provided his skill set translates quickly, Svechnikov has a good chance to reach the NHL and be a Rookie of the Year candidate next season.

The Hurricanes had some great fortune in the draft lottery to nab the No. 2 overall pick, and Svechnikov figures to land in a beneficial situation in Carolina.

Although the 'Canes are in the midst of the longest playoff drought in the NHL, Svechnikov will join a team that has no shortage of offensive talent with Sebastian Aho, Teuvo Teravainen, Jeff Skinner and Jordan Staal leading the way.

Carolina is still in need of a true superstar to anchor the forward group, and Svechnikov may prove to be the missing piece.

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