Svechnikov turns disappointment into determination to make Wings

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News
Evgeny Svechnikov, right, played 14 games with the Red Wings last season.

Detroit — The spotlight seems to be firmly on forwards Michael Rasmussen and Filip Zadina and a collection of defensemen who will overhaul that position in a few years.

Forward Evgeny Svechnikov, the Red Wings’ 2015 first-round draft pick, seems to have fallen somewhat into the background.

Svechnikov only had seven goals in Grand Rapids last season, after scoring 20 the year before with the Griffins.

A neck injury during training camp last season slowed Svechnikov, who had a realistic chance of making the Wings last season out of camp — but did not.

In 14 games with the Wings after getting promoted late in the season, Svechnikov had two goals and two assists.

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There are positions available on the Wings' roster again as training camp begins Friday. Svechnikov would appear to have a chance for one.

“There’s more expectation,” Svechnikov said after an informal workout at Little Caesars Arena. “(But) I had, last year, a lot of expectations for myself.”

Svechnikov has the size at 6-foot-3, 212 pounds, and has shown a knack for playing in tight areas, using his strength and instincts.

But his struggles defensively, lack of top-end speed, and self-doubt have held him back in the brief NHL auditions.

“I want to show I can play really good defensively and be strong in the zone, cycle the puck and make less mistakes,” Svechnikov said.

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Svechnikov did a lot of power skating work in the summer and worked out extensively with younger brother Andrei, who was picked No. 2 overall in June's draft by Carolina.

“I did a lot of skating, a lot of running,” Svechnikov said. “It was lot of long of runs. It was hard, really hard. I did it for two months, three days a week.”

Giving Jokinen a look

The Wings are committed to putting young players like Rasmussen and Zadina into the lineup. But they still want to be competitive, and have veterans in the lineup.

To that end, they’re bringing forward Jussi Jokinen on for a professional tryout.

The chances of Jokinen making the roster are slim, at best.

Jokinen, 35, has played for nine NHL teams, including four last season in Edmonton, Los Angeles, Columbus and Vancouver.

He has scored 191 goals in 951 games, but he was limited to five goals and 12 assists in 60 games last season.

Jokinen played for new assistant Dan Bylsma in Pittsburgh for two seasons beginning in 2012-13, leading to the camp invite.

Wings fall in finals

The Blue Jackets defeated the Red Wings’ prospects, 7-3, Tuesday in the championship game of the Prospects Tournament at Centre ICE Arena.

Givani Smith had two goals and Dennis Cholowski (power play) scored once for the Wings (2-2).

Cholowski’s goal gave the Wings a 3-2 lead at 1:35 of the third period, only to see the Blue Jackets score five consecutive goals.

Zadina missed four minutes midway in the third after being on the receiving end of a hard hit, but returned to the lineup.

Columbus has won five Prospects Tournaments, more than any other organization in the 20-year event.

Red Wings training camp 

When: Friday through Sept. 18, practices and scrimmages from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. daily, except for Sunday, when there will be the Red and White Game at noon.

Where: City Centre ICE Arena, Traverse City