Wings want creative 1st-rounder Svechnikov to shoot more

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News
Evgeny Svechnikov

Detroit – The support is in place for Evgeny Svechnikov.

His mother Elena and younger brother Andrei – a top 2018 draft prospect playing for Muskegon in the United States Hockey League – have already moved to Muskegon from Russia and will be a short drive away from Evgeny in Grand Rapids.

“We’ll be close to each other, it’ll be some support for me,” said Svechnikov, the Red Wings’ 2015 first-round draft pick. “It’s going to be great. It’s nice. Huge support.”

Svechnikov is a 6-foot-3 206-pound winger who scored 32 goals each of his last two seasons in Cape Breton in the Quebec Junior League, totaling 78 and 79 points the two seasons.

As good a goal-scorer he is, Svechnikov, like many European players, loves to pass and set up teammates even more.

The Red Wings are trying to make Svechnikov a bit more selfish.

“I notice with him, he really enjoys the process of making the right plays,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “There’s nothing wrong with that, but we have to make sure he shoots the puck, too.

“In the pro game, in North America, there’s less space out there so you have to get it to the net and create chances.

“He has the ability to make plays. He really likes to make plays. He probably likes to pass it more than shoot it, even though he has a good shot. We have to get him to shoot the puck a little more.”

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Having left Russia to play three years of junior hockey in Canada, Svechnikov has demonstrated impressive drive and character.

Blashill has heard similar compliments from Griffins coaches – Svechnikov turned pro and played two playoffs games with the Griffins last spring – who are impressed with his willingness to work.

Svechnikov, 20, is also dutifully learning the pro game.

“Talking to guys who were with him in GR, he definitely has the desire to get better,” Blashill said. “He’ll spend extra time to work on stuff. It’s an adjustment learning the details of it.

“There’s an adjustment, especially with creative guys – they tend to be a little less detailed and that’s not a bad thing. It’s just the difference in personalities. As he continues through the process, he’ll learn those little details there without stifling his creativity.”

Learning the finer points of the game, where to be and not to be on the ice, and perfecting his skills has been something Svechnikov is discovering is vital in pro hockey.

“It’s all about details,” Svechnikov said. “I learned a lot about how to play here the last three years in junior. But pro hockey is all about details. I’ve learned things I didn’t know.”

Svechnikov isn’t putting any sort of expectations upon himself for his rookie season in Grand Rapids.

“I don’t want to put pressure on myself,” Svechnikov said. “Just do my work hard.”

Ice chips

Goalie Jimmy Howard and Jared Coreau will split Tuesday’s playing time against Pittsburgh.

The only Red Wings regulars in the lineup other than Howard are Gustav Nyquist, Riley Sheahan, Mike Green, Darren Helm and Jonathan Ericsson.

… Blashill said goalie Petr Mrazek and forward Justin Abdelkader will begin practicing Wednesday, after having completed their World Cup of Hockey tournaments, and defenseman Alexey Marchenko likely Friday.

Twitter @tkulfan