Detroit — The Red Wings have added more offensive skill to their organization.
With the 19th pick overall in the first round of the NHL draft Friday, the Red Wings selected Russian left wing Evgeny Svechnikov.
Playing for Cape Breton in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, the 6-foot-2, 200-pound forward finished with 78 points (32 goals) in 55 games.
Most scouting services and mock drafts predicted Svechnikov would be selected anywhere from 15-20, which proved to be accurate.
Svechnikov will return to Cape Breton this season and it is expected that he will begin playing for the Red Wings organization in approximately two seasons.
"We think he's the full package," said Tyler Wright, director of amateur scouting for the Red Wings. "He has skill and size and we feel has the potential to be a top-six forward.
"We had him rated higher in the draft, and feel fortunate to get him."
"We have a number of young forwards coming up, we have Dylan Larkin (Waterford / Michigan) who we hope will fight for a spot (on the roster), hopefully he'll form the nucleus of good forwards we'll have for a number of years," said Wings general manager Ken Holland of last year's Red Wings first-round pick.
Svechnikov has tremendous upside on offense.
Scouts like Svechnikov's versatility. He normally plays wing but can also play center when needed, and has the ability to finish around the net.
Most scouts like Svechnikov's shot and his vision on the size is considered a strength.
But there are some knocks on his game.
Most analysts have noted Svechnikov doesn't work as hard on the defensive end of the rink as he does offensively.
And there is room to grow as a skater, most believe.
The draft continues at 10 a.m. Saturday with the Red Wings not having a second-round selection, but one pick in each round after that (3-7).
The Red Wings pick 73rd, 110th, 140th, 170th, and 200th overall.
No trades on horizon
Holland said he spoke to some general managers about trade possibilities, but nothing was imminent.
"We're looking to upgrade but it has to make sense," Holland said.
Holland said he is comfortable with the young players on the roster, and with prospects Larkin, Anthony Mantha and Andreas Athanasiou on the way.